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.
UVA’s materials and waste footprint covers the purchases and waste produced in the University's health system, academic buildings, residential halls, athletics venues, and other facilities. UVA generates approximately 15,000 tons of municipal solid waste annually and has decreased this waste stream by approximately 4.7% since 2014.
One of the primary goals as outlined in our Sustainability Plan 2020-2030 is to reduce UVA's waste footprint by 30% of 2010 levels by 2030.
In March 2021, Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Order 77 requiring all state agencies, including institutions of higher education, to end buying, selling, and distributing a range of single-use plastic items such as food containers, cutlery, water bottles, and more. The Office for Sustainability is leading UVA's EO77 Working Group to achieve this goal. Read more about the initiative and timeline.
UVA looks to process improvements and more 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 property. 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 ROSE Program (Reusable Office Supply Exchange) collects gently used or unused office supplies from departments throughout UVA and makes these materials available to the community.
Increasing Recycling & Compost
UVA’s recycling system separates paper, cardboard, glass, cans, and plastics #1-7 into separate bins to reduce contamination. Recycling is hand-sorted and baled and 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 seen an exponential increase in recent years, with UVA composting 805 tons in 2018. UVA Dine offers back-of-house composting at more than 20 locations. Composting is strongly encouraged at all events at UVA, with major events such as class reunions and various athletic events working towards zero waste.