Zero Waste Guide

There are a variety of opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle items on and off campus. One of the key goals in Princeton's Sustainability Action Plan is to strive for zero waste through behavioral and operational strategies that include reduction, reuse and recycling. To learn what's recyclable on campus, visit the Recycling Guidelines page.

Choose to Reuse

One of the strategies to achieve our zero waste goal is to increase reuse of a broader range of items on campus. Here are a few opportunities to reduce your everyday waste by choosing to reuse:

Drink Local

With more than 250 filtered water bottle-filling stations on the Princeton campus, students, staff and visitors have easy access to free filtered water for their reusable water bottles and mugs. "Drink Local" water bottles can be purchased at the U-Store on University Place.

Reusable Mug Discount *ON HOLD DUE TO COVID-19*

Campus Dining provides offer discounts to Princeton campus community members who use their own reusable mugs instead of disposable cups in Cafe Vivian, the Food Gallery at FristChancellor Green Cafe, and Studio '34.

Reuse and Donation Options on Campus

Composting

The University partners with Organic Diversion, a food waste hauler based in Marlton, N.J. to recover uneaten food when it cannot be sold or donated. Organic Diversion diverts the food to either animal feed or composting, thereby promoting environmental health and justice by reducing reliance on landfills and incinerators.

scrap lab logo

Please Note: Composting activities at the S.C.R.A.P. Lab are currently on hold due to a planned facility relocation to accommodate capital development efforts associated with the University’s Campus Plan. Updates on the operational restart date will be communicated on the project’s Blog.

In September 2018, the Office of Sustainability launched a food scraps demonstration project to called the Sustainable Composting Research at Princeton Lab or S.C.R.A.P. Lab. The S.C.R.A.P. Lab converts a portion of the campus’s uneaten food into a nutrient-rich soil amendment for campus grounds, while supporting academic research around organics recycling.

Graduate Students have opportunities to compost at their apartment complexes. Contact your residence council or committee for more information about how and where to compost.

PLAN Discounts and Zero Waste Resources

PLAN logo

Princeton University is a member of the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) network of over 80 campuses across the country. 

PLAN cultivates, educates, and inspires the student-led zero waste movement. They inform students about the waste crisis and equip them with the necessary skills and resources to implement solutions to waste in their campus communities. 

All Princeton students, faculty and staff are able to access the Member Resources and Discounts on the PLAN website by registering on their website. Resources include workshops and webinars, the annual zero waste conference, manuals and guides on several zero waste programs and discounts on eco-friendly products.

Please contact sustain@princeton.edu with any questions about PLAN or the membership benefits.

Off Campus Recycling and Reuse Resources

  • Earth 911 - Search for hard to recycle items, results are filtered by recycling collection areas/programs near you!