Waste Reduction

One goal: Zero waste

Emerson is taking actions campus-wide to reduce and eventually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste.


In 2012 Emerson began to completely eliminate disposable water bottles on campus as part of the national "Ban the Bottle" campaign. Existing campus water fountains have been upgraded to reusable bottle-friendly Hydration Stations.

Reusable containers offer convenience and reduce unnecessary waste on campus; containers are available to students at the Dining Hall’s entrance. Students can drop off used containers (to be cleaned) and pick up new ones, or return the containers and get rainchecks for new containers the next time they want a meal to go. Reusable mug discounts are also offered at campus food retail locations.    

Our quarterly Clean Out Your Office days (COYO) and chuckslist posting forum (à la craigslist) encourage staff and faculty to reuse and exchange no longer needed equipment and materials.


Emerson partners with Save that Stuff to remove all food, compostable dishware, and paper napkins from the dining facilities’ waste streams. Dining facility staff compost food scraps in the kitchen and dining facility guests can compost any uneaten food, compostable dishware, and paper napkins in containers across from the dish return area. The collected organic material is then brought to Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton, MA to be processed into high-quality, nutrient-rich compost. The compost is re-sold to support youth arts programming and medical research. Students are currently working to bring composting to the residence halls and departmental offices.


Single stream recycling is campus-wide and paper, cardboard, glass, metal, and plastic can all go into one bin. Plastic food containers should be rinsed and bottles must be emptied of liquids before placing them in the blue bin. 

Emerson donates unneeded furniture, mattresses, library books and office supplies to local charities for reuse and recycling.  

E-Waste and Hazardous Materials

E-waste, or electronic equipment including computers, monitors and printers, can be safely recycled with the help of the IT Help Desk. Either call and request an item pick-up or bring your items to the desk to have it safely disposed of. 

Batteries and cell phones are collected for recycling in designated blue boxes found in the lobbies of each building. Look for the wall poster and the distinctive box below.

Old bulbs or anything else of a hazardous nature can be picked up by Facilities and will be safely disposed of.