Waste Minimization and Recycling

In 2013, Americans generated over 254 million tons of trash, recycling 87 million of this material, equivalent to a 34% recycling rate. In 2016, Mason contributed about 2,000 tons of trash, diverting only 25% of this trash and waste through reuse and recycling efforts on campus.

In 2015, as part of Obama’s American Campuses Act on Climate, President Cabrera pledged to have a recycling rate of 50% by 2018. Mason is well on its way but you can help us get to and exceed that goal!

The most effective way of reducing trash is the 3 Rs — reduce, reuse, and then recycle.

  • We can reduce the amount of items we purchase and make sure that the things we buy are less harmful to the environment. For example, double sided printing, as opposed to single side printing, will cut down paper usage.
  • We can reuse and repurpose items already produced, saving money and the environment. For example, Starbucks and Einstein’s Coffee offer a monetary discount for customers who bring in their own reusable cups and mugs.
  • We can recycle products such as plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and office paper. Mason provides interior and exterior recycle bins for recyclables around campus, and collects a number of recyclable materials.

George Mason University also has several programs to minimize our waste by reducing, reusing and recycling:

  • A surplus store, where department across campus can get donated items for free;
  • Annual Patriot Pack Out during student move-out, where students donate clothes, appliance, and food that would otherwise be thrown away when moving out of their residences
  • Hydration stations in every building to encourage the use of reusable water bottles
  • Recycling program that collects 1-7 plastics, aluminum, metal, cardboard, paper, and electronic waste