Zero Waste Hero Certification Supports Action


Since launching in spring 2018, Zero Waste Hero Certification has supported the zero waste aspirations of 47 Longhorns, resulting in over 70 hours of education and 57 hours of direct action on campus.

Led by campus experts in Resource Recovery and University Housing and Dining, Zero Waste Hero Certification provides the insight into smarter purchasing, reuse, recycling, and composting that participants need to feel confident when making daily choices like disposing of items at the bin. Subsequent volunteer “Action Hours” reinforce sorting knowledge, enhance ability to share knowledge with others, and grow our community of Zero Waste Heroes—all while directly furthering UT Austin’s zero waste efforts.

Heroes have helped with the success of UT Athletics Sustainability Sort Squad, the Campus Environmental Center Trash to Treasure and Green Greeks, UT Farm Stand Plate Waste Study, Resource Recovery Building Waste Audits, and West Campus’s MoveOutATX

Here’s what some participants have said:

“It was a lot of fun collecting the donations. It's still amazing how we collected 840 lbs today!” 

          - Zero Waste Hero @ Trash to Treasure Donation Drive

“Such a good informative and hands on session to get into the details of what goes into sustainability!” 

           - Zero Waste Hero @ Zero Waste Hero Workshop

“Interesting to see how the kitchen/dishwashing operated.” 

           - Zero Waste Hero @ UT Farm Stand Plate Waste Study

“I learned a lot about the process of recycling/reusing/reducing and felt more educated when I walked out of the workshop. I'm excited I ran across this program and am hopeful for the future of it!” 

            - Zero Waste Hero @ Zero Waste Workshop

“It was interesting to learn about which plastics can be recycled and what misconceptions I had about recycling, composting, and sending items to the landfill.”

            - Zero Waste Hero @ Zero Waste Workshop

Samid Mirza from the Campus Environmental Center has both worked with Heroes and attended the workshop.

“Honestly, Zero Waste Hero has a ton of benefits for both personal development and community impact. Through a personal lens, Zero Waste Hero has helped me and others gain clarity on materials that can be recycled and composted, as well as making daily lifestyle choices that help better our lives environmentally. Through a community lens, students and I feel a sense of ‘belonging’ when it comes to our campus community. We are actively making a positive difference to our community of students and engaging others to live a zero-waste lifestyle," said Mirza. "Generally speaking, Zero Waste Hero helps create a sustainability network that all students can actively be a part of!” 

To learn more about the program, listen to a podcast or check for upcoming workshops.

This story was written by Lindsey Hutchison, Zero Waste Program Coordinator in Facilities Services