Zero Waste

What is Zero Waste?

“Zero Waste is reducing the generation of wasted materials at the source, and maximizing diversion methods to avoid landfills. The overall goal is to strive for at least 90% of the waste stream to be diverted from the landfill.”

“Zero Waste is a paradigm shift. With Zero Waste, trash is what is left over after we reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost.”

- Adapted from the City of Austin's Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan (2011).

UT Austin's Zero Waste Goal

“By August 31, 2020, UT Austin will divert 90% of the total waste stream from landfill using a variety of methods including reuse and recycling. This will reduce the UT Austin carbon footprint by 600 metric tons of CO2 equivalent and save at least $5,000 annually.”

Natural Resource Conservation Plan (PDF), as amended by the President’s Sustainability Steering Committee (April 9, 2012).

Zero Waste Strategic Plan

To reach UT's goal of diverting our discards out of the landfill by at least 90% by 2020, we will be developing our own strategic milestones and developing a zero waste strategic plan for UT Austin. This plan will be in line with the Natural Resource Conservation Plan (PDF), as amended by the President's Sustainability Steering Committee (April 9, 2012).

Quick Stats 2015
Last year we recycled: 2.5 million pounds
Last year we composted: about 700,000 pounds
Campus-wide diversion rate: 36%


Jennifer Hobson, Zero Waste Coordinator

Jennifer Hobson 
Zero Waste Coordinator 

Jennifer has five years of experience working in sustainability in higher education. She was recently promoted to serve as the coordinator for the university’s Zero Waste approach. She previously served as sustainability program coordinator and as the advisor to the Campus Environmental Center. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degrees in political science and geography from the University of Florida, where she interned in the Office of Sustainability. She earned her master’s degree in human dimensions of natural resources from Colorado State University and El Colegio de La Frontera Sur.