In our 2020 AASHE STARS Report, we reported for two out of three subcategories within the overarching ‘Waste’ category, and it is one of our seven E.C.O. Wheel categories. Waste is also part of our Sustainability Plan. In AASHE STARS, the University of Delaware scored the following for the three Waste subcategories:

  • OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion: 2.87 / 8.00.
  • OP-20: Construction and Demolition Waste Diversion: 0.00 / 1.00.
  • OP-21: Hazardous Waste Management: 0.50 / 1.00.

As part of the ‘Grounds’ category in AASHE STARS, there is a relevant subcategory, which relates fertilizers, pesticides, composting, and mulching on-site waste, among other things:

  • OP-9: Landscape Management: 0.00 / 2.00.


About Recycling: Improper disposal of plastics and non-biodegradable materials negatively impacts ecosystems. Recycling promotes public health, reduces pollution, saves resources, and can create jobs. Failure to do so creates negative public attention.

Current State of Recycling: The University of Delaware had a single-stream recycling rate of 25% in FY2017. This puts us significantly behind the state of Delaware, which had a single-stream recycle rate of 67% in FY2016. UD continues to push recycling initiatives and education by participating in events such as RecycleMania, incorporating over 50 water bottle refill stations across campus, and by hosting student interns at our waste and recycling center. The University was recently awarded DNREC’s Universal Recycling Grant, which allowed UD Sustainability to place new recycling bins in dining locations with informational posters. 

About Food Waste: Organic waste produces high levels of methane in landfills that contributes toward greenhouse gas emissions. Composted food waste can significantly reduce these emissions and can be an ecofriendly alternative to chemical fertilizers.

Current State of Food Waste: Unlike many of our comparators, UD does not have a system for composting our food waste. However, the University does have two anaerobic digesters in the Caesar-Rodney Dining Hall. Additionally, in collaboration with Aramark, UD’s Food Recovery Network Registered Student Organization is actively collecting hundreds of pounds of leftover food per semester to be given to local food banks.

About Construction Waste: Construction and demolition waste in landfills have a negative impact on the environment. Construction waste contributes to the methane emissions of these landfills and exacerbates air pollution. Not taking advantage of recycling and repurposing construction waste also leads to a faster depletion of building materials. 

Current State of Construction Waste: The University of Delaware has standards and procedures for handling construction waste. Contractors periodically re-submit a “Construction and Demolition Waste Management Plan” that follows industry and state standards. This plan specifies which materials are to be examined for possible salvaging, hazardous materials that require a special disposal process, and the materials that should be diverted to the landfill.


  • 50% reduction of waste to landfills by 2035.
  • Double food recovery rates by including all dining halls in the program.
  • Catch-up to state single-stream recycling rate of 67% by 2026.
  • Promote the building of an Anaerobic digester on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus to turn food, animal, and landscaping waste into biofuels and fertilizers.
  • Provide recycling and waste education for students and waste management staff and invest in signage, dry dumpsters, and recycling bins.
  • Obtain and track construction waste data to improve AASHE score.
  • Reduce use of plastic bags.
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