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The Road to a Zero Waste Campus


A holistic framework for measuring waste reduction on college and university campuses. We legitimize the qualitative characteristics of material management and identify quantitative metrics beyond diversion.


The Atlas is an assessment framework to create Zero Waste strategic plans for universities and colleges. We start off by utilizing our extensive Campus Programs Checklist to assess infrastructure, policies, and communication that supports the reduction of waste on campus. A report with detailed findings, recommendations, and a baseline Zero Waste score is provided to the campus after the initial visit.

After a campus reviews their report, the Atlas team guides the campus in establishing a Zero Waste Plan and accompanying task force through a series of strategic planning sessions. The result is a clear roadmap to Zero Waste.


Stage 1

A 360 Assessment of your campus that includes:

  • In-person interviews with campus staff and student groups utilizing PLAN’s extensive Campus Programs Checklist
  • A program report summarizing your campus’s current infrastructure and communication channels
  • A list or recommendations to address infrastructural and communication gaps
  • A baseline Zero Waste score


Stage 2

A series of strategic planning sessions between PLAN staff and your campus to:

  • Create a Zero Waste Plan with a focus on infrastructure, policy, education and outreach
  • Identify a Zero Waste Task Force made up of stakeholders across campus
  • Assess recommendations as outlined in the Stage 1 report
  • Establish short term, mid-term and long-term initiatives


Current Participants 

To build this framework, we closely collaborated with 8 campuses across the country who are leading the way in college and university zero waste efforts. Our Advisor campuses include:


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