University of Wisconsin–Madison

Waste & Recycling Team

Who we are

Waste amd Recycling teamThe 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 interns provide education and training on correct campus recycling and waste infrastructure practices, including how to properly dispose of commingled recyclables (cans, glass, and plastic), office paper, mixed paper, specialized recyclables, and trash. Training can take a range of forms, from presentations by our Green Office team to training modules for employees. Our interns will work with you to identify an approach that best fits 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 from a particular location to determine what is being thrown away and whether or not waste and recycling are being properly sorted. Audits are powerful tools for determining problem items that are frequently disposed of incorrectly.

Our interns 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. In some cases our interns also perform the audits in order to help advise partners.

“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!