University of Wisconsin–Madison

Waste & Recycling Team

Waste and recycling team

Who we are

The Office of Sustainability Waste Team helps campus groups improve their recycling and composting as part of an ongoing UW–Madison priority to be responsible stewards of our resources. We believe that waste has immediate consequences, and that individual and institutional actions are necessary to support a strong and productive campus.

What we provide

Waste education and training for campus entities

Our team provides education and training on the correct use of campus recycling and waste infrastructure and how to properly dispose of commingled recyclables (cans, glass, and plastic), office paper, mixed paper, specialized recyclables, and trash. This training can take a range of forms, from a presentation to an office green team (link to green office page) to training modules for employees. Our team will work with you to identify an approach to best fit your group.

Tools to measure waste and recycling efforts

Weighing trash
A student uses a hanging scale to weigh a bag during a trash audit.

Trash audits involve sorting through the waste of a particular office space to determine what is being thrown away, whether or not waste is properly sorted, and which items that could be recycled are not. Audits are powerful tools for determining problem items that are frequently disposed of incorrectly.

Our team provides trash audit kits with all the equipment necessary for offices or other groups to complete independent audits. Each kit contains an educational guide, safety gear and simple step-by-step directions to correctly complete a trash audit. After you complete an audit, our team can help you analyze the results to provide feedback on areas of improvement.

“Pre” and “post” audits are a great way to measure improvement and progress toward a goal!

One-on-one consulting to identify solutions

Our team can offer one-on-one consulting for campus entities interested in reducing their waste. Consultations may include: assessing appropriate methods of waste reduction, creating a waste reduction plan, and analyzing waste metrics before and after a waste reduction initiative is implemented.

Consultations may also be useful to develop individualized strategies. For example, our team is currently developing training modules for Dining and Culinary Services staff at Gordon Dining & Event Center. These “huddles” are 15-minute team meetings with staff to discuss disposal methods and strategies related to back-of-house food preparation. This approach targets environment-specific waste items in a way that fits well with staff workflow.


Video: The Journey of UW–Madison Recycling

We use hundreds of single-use coffee cups every day. Are you putting yours in the correct bin?

Video: What’s In The Bin?

Why dig through the trash? Lessons learned from Office of Sustainability trash audits.

Contact us to learn more or to set up an appointment!