ASU In the News

ASU commits to zero waste challenge with people power

Major corporations are not that different from large universities when it comes to practices, management, emissions and costs. Today's universities operate like well-oiled corporate machines balancing multiple departments, people, buildings and challenges. Arizona State University – with 72,000 students, 13,000 staff members and 1,500 acres of campus land – is no small college. But since Michael Crow became the university's president 10 years ago, ASU has transformed into a sustainability-driven university.

In a recent article, author Georges Dyer covers ASU's zero waste accomplishments. Dyers outlines the university's process in identifying waste management strategies and the steps taken to implement those practices.

ASU's University Sustainability Practices director Nick Brown says a major cultural phenomenon needs to happen in order to eliminate enough waste to really make a difference.

“I’m serious about avoiding the word ‘waste’ – except in the context of waste reduction," he says in the article. "'Food waste' was waste when it went to the landfill, now it’s ‘food scraps.’ Language counts – as long as we keep calling it ‘waste’ it will be harder to shift our thinking."

ASU aims to divert 90 percent of its waste from the landfill by 2015. To do that, Brown says: "It’s going to take 80,000 people to make zero waste successful."

To learn more about ASU's sustainability efforts, visit:

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