Materials & Waste
UVA's goal is reduce its waste footprint to 30% of 2010 levels by 2030 (a 70% reduction).
UVA works to reduce the environmental impacts of our operations through comprehensive programs to reduce waste and reuse and recycle materials throughout the institution to save money and resources. Our waste footprint – approximately 15,000 tons a year -- covers all academic buildings, athletic venues, residential halls, the University's health system and other facilities. In 2022 the University reused, composted or recycled 24.4% of the waste generated. We have reduced waste generated on Grounds by almost 52% from 2010 levels.
As a state entity, the University began prohibiting certain single-use plastics (such as water bottles and dishware) in July 2021 under a gubernatorial order. While that is no longer in effect, UVA continues its commitment to reduce single-use plastics, a significant waste stream in our operations.
UVA works to improve sustainable purchasing options through UVA’s Procurement Working Group.
The UVA ReUse Store supports the collection, sale and reuse of surplus property, which includes University-owned unneeded, unclaimed, lost or abandoned items. The program supports the University’s sustainability efforts by extending the life-cycle of items that may have otherwise been disposed of in a landfill -- roughly 1.2 million pounds since its opening in 2018.
The Reusable Office Supply Exchange (ROSE) collects gently used or unused office supplies from departments throughout UVA and makes these materials available to university students, staff and faculty, and the broader community.
UVA’s recycling system separates paper, cardboard, glass, cans and plastics #1-7 into separate bins to reduce contamination. The items are hand-sorted and baled, then processed into new materials at facilities in North Carolina. Visit the UVA Recycling page to learn how to recycle at UVA. Electronic waste is also collected in bins throughout Grounds.
Composting throughout Grounds has grown exponentially in recent years, with UVA composting 805 tons in 2018. UVA Dine offers back-of-house composting at more than 20 locations, and composting is strongly encouraged at all events at UVA, with major events such as class reunions and various athletic events working towards zero waste.