How to Handle Hard-to-Recycle Materials

Below you will find a collection of resources to help you navigate places in St. Louis that take specific types of materials for reuse, repurposing, or in some cases, recycling. What to do with university-owned “stuff” Before you get too far along, please note that there are specific ways to manage materials that are generated […]

Celebrating Sustainability Champions at the Green Carpet Awards 

The annual Green Carpet Awards were hosted on November 7, 2023 at the Knight Center on the Danforth Campus. Sustainability champions from across the university gathered to celebrate significant projects and programs that are enhancing sustainability efforts and impact. The program hosted the following speakers, who recognized numerous sustainable achievements between 2022 to 2023.  Phil […]

“Share Our Stuff” Program comes Full Circle

Office of Sustainability student associate, Mia Phutrakul, Class of 2025, contributed to this story. Every year, as part of the Share Our Stuff program, items are collected from the South 40 and Village residential areas, as well as nearby off-campus neighborhoods surrounding the WashU area with the intent to repurpose goods from student move-out and […]

WashU Debuts Electric Shuttles

Washington University in St. Louis has acquired three electric shuttles as part of its Danforth Campus fleet. The shuttles will be on display at the Earth Day Festival in Forest Park April 22-23. Attendees can park in WashU’s East End garage and ride a university shuttle to the event on the Muny grounds. The electric […]

Part-time Student Worker Positions Available at the Office Of Sustainability

Typically the Office of Sustainability engages student workers in internship positions that require full-time summer commitments or part time work through the duration of the semester. Due to programming needs that fall outside of the typical internship program period, we have a call for student workers to help carry out two programs that support student-centered […]

Green Office Checklist 3.0

“Sustainability” is a moving target and a dynamic field. With the real-life urgency to aggressively and persistently take on climate change, curb greenhouse gas emissions, reduce waste and generally shift the many unsustainable systems that have developed over the last couple hundred years, it is expected that our response and activities must be adaptive and […]

Green Carpet Awards Recognizes Leaders

Written by Green Office student associates Julia Borcher, Class of 2025, and Elizabeth Sklaire, Class of 2024. On Thursday, October 27th, the Office Of Sustainability celebrated the 5th Annual Green Carpet Awards–the first time since 2019. Office of Sustainability staff were graciously joined by Dr. Shantay Bolton, Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration and Chief Administrative […]

WashU Branded SWAG Exchange

WashU departments and student groups are encouraged to share surplus WashU-branded giveaways (“SWAG”). Events and outreach campaigns often end up with extra stuff – sometimes boxes and sometimes just a handful. No one likes to throw away brand new items, so these are often stuffed into closets to gather dust. Circulate your extra SWAG to […]

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

April and May are always busy times at the Office of Sustainability. Its also a great time for folks to get involved to help support outreach events and “green event” operations. Take a look at the opportunities below and sign up to offer your support. St. Louis Earth Day Festival, April 23-24, 11a – 5p […]

Lights Out Pledge Protects Migrating Birds

Each year, billions of birds pass through the United States on their way to seasonal destinations. And each year, these birds are among the 600,000 birds that die after colliding with buildings. Cities like St. Louis pose a disproportionate risk to birds, as the geography, developmental spread and glow of night time lights converge to […]

Landscape Solutions Transform Problem Area on S40

Students making the journey to pick up packages from the Hitzeman Hall mailroom on the S40 may have noticed some subtle changes as they cut across the newly-laid flagstone. The campus grounds team has transformed the space over a two-phase project. Unlike the quick visual impact of a new building, new landscape takes a bit […]

Sustainable Commencement Celebrations

This story was updated in April 2023 to reflect WashU’s 162nd Commencement. Since 2014, Washington University in St. Louis has pursued zero waste Commencement celebrations. WashU has provided recyclable or compostable serviceware at receptions, set up waste collection stations, collected paper programs for recycling, and donated leftover food. Each year, the Commencement planning team and […]

WashU Approved Suppliers Meet Minimum Requirements for Sustainability and Human Rights

Promotional products, commonly known as “swag” are abundant at WashU. Virtually every department or office has apparel or mugs, water bottles and reusable bags are popular giveaways, and everything from pens to umbrellas to lunchboxes show up at events or in office storage rooms. All of these items have a cost – their quality, utility, […]

Magnolia Allee Replaces Invasive Monoculture

If you have been exploring the flowering trees coming to life across campus, delighting in the rich smells, colors and textures, you may have noticed one corridor that is conspicuously absent. The path between the DUC and Simon Hall has brightened many springs with the dense white clusters of Bradford pear blossoms, lining a favorite […]

Extended Warranties Prevent E-Waste

WashU Information Technology’s most recent change to Dell computer warranties marks an important step forward in managing the university’s electronic waste and changing campus culture to one of repair and reuse, instead of replacement. With the world producing around fifty million tons of e-waste a year, changes in warranty length can go a long way […]

Local Demand Response Program Cuts Carbon & Saves Money

How does Demand Response work? During the hottest days of summer, residents and businesses simultaneously use more energy than usual to cool their buildings, which puts stress on the electric grid. To ensure adequate electricity is available, specialize power plants called “peaker plants” are brought online when the grid approaches maximum capacity. Peaker plants are […]

Move Out Donation Drive Supports Local Efforts

When the COVID-19 stay-at-home order was lifted in late May, many students began the process of moving out of their St. Louis housing. Some had finished out the academic year in off-campus housing while others came back to pack up their belongings. Others who weren’t able to travel entrusted moves to local friends or family, […]

STL Agencies Accepting Donations

Prior to students moving out of their St. Louis housing as the academic year came to an unusual close, we surveyed local non-profit agencies to see who was accepting donations and to learn more about what they needed. As a result of the health and economic burdens created by the COVID-19 pandemic, these agencies are […]

Smart Food Strategies During the Pandemic

Observing the stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic requires individuals to do whatever they can to remain at home and limit travel to necessities: acquiring food and medical care, and going to work for “essential” workers and front-line healthcare staff. As a result, going to the grocery can become an exotic pleasure – the one […]

Thinking Critically About Our Paper Usage

Imagine that you are a student at Olin Library, your arms outstretched with an ID, ready to print out a reading for your class this afternoon. The papers come out nice and warm, from a printer that is hot to the touch. You staple the pages together, retreat to a booth in Whisper’s, and highlight […]

Greening Your Home Office

If you are like us, you have probably carved out a space in your home for office or school work – the kitchen table, corner of the couch, or, if you are lucky, a home office. Here are some things you can think about as you strive to transition your Green Office practices at home! […]

Green Restaurants & Caterers COVID-19 Update

During these trying times, our valued green catering partners have had to close down their dine-in options and have lost the bulk of their business as events and in-person meetings are canceled or hosted remotely. They now rely more than ever on the catering, delivery and take-out opportunities we can send their way. We wish […]

Green Carpet Awards Recognize Sustainability Leaders

On February 5th, liaisons representing offices from across WashU campuses gathered to celebrate participation in the Green Office Program and recognized sustainability leaders during the 4th annual Green Carpet Awards. The Green Office Program encourages the adoption of policies and practices that reduce the environmental impacts of office operations. This highly anticipated event recognized offices […]

Residential Compost Program Completes First Semester

In Fall 2019, the WashU Green Ambassadors kicked off the Residential Compost Program across the S40 Residential campus after numerous student-led and student-funded pilot programs. The program showcases how students can develop leadership and project management skills by working together with the university administration to institutionalize new initiatives. While this program has received the operational […]

Holiday Lights Recycling Drive

Wondering what to do with your old or unworkable holiday lights? You can recycle them! The annual Holiday Lights Recycling Drive returns to Washington University this winter. The drive runs December 6, 2021 through January 31, 2022. A holiday tradition, the WashU community brings in hundreds of pounds of holiday lights to responsibly recycle – […]

Green Event Resources Expand to Include Flowers

Most people don’t realize that the floral industry generates many of the same environmental and social concerns as the food industry. Concepts such as local sourcing; waste reduction through reuse, composting and recycling; avoiding pesticides and chemicals; and fair compensation and safe conditions for workers – all of which have been embraced in responsible food […]

Taking a Stand: WashU’s Bottled Water Ban

Washington University became the first North American university to ban the sale of bottled water on its West, North, and Danforth campuses in 2009. Five years after the ban was rolled out, purchasing order history for bottled beverages across these campuses showed bottled water purchases fell by 86%, a savings of over 125,000 bottles of […]

Composting Launches in the DUC

With the start of classes this August, WashU Dining Services quietly rolled out a simple and straight-forward response to a long- requested service by dining customers – students, staff and faculty alike. On either side of the dish return window, the waste storing holes which previously offered recycling and landfill now have two holes each […]

New Exchange Platform Avoids Waste

With frequent office moves, remodeling, and other changes in the fast-paced university setting, high-quality furniture, equipment and supplies can become a burden rather than an asset. In an effort to address this opportunity and better utilize these items, Washington University has signed up for Rheaply, an exciting new software platform that facilitates the internal recirculation […]

Recycling Genius Volunteer Opportunities: Fall 2019

Educate the WashU community about correct waste sorting while ensuring that events are truly zero waste. Volunteers are needed for first year Move-In, the WUSM Employee Picnic, and the Chancellor’s Inauguration Celebration. First-year Student Move-In: August 17 For several years, the WashU Green Ambassadors have assisted the ResLife Housekeeping team with diverting massive amounts of […]

Sustainability Programming Connects with High School Students

Office of Sustainability Expands Educational Offerings to College Prep Scholars Established in 2014, the WashU College Prep Program provides low-income first-generation students the opportunity to attend an immersive, on-campus learning experience every summer between their first-year and last-year of high school. In 2017, the Office of Sustainability started collaborating with College Prep to introduce the […]

Office Supply Drive Through Jan 31

Take advantage of the slower days over the winter break to clean out your office supply cabinets and drawers, then send surplus items to stock the shelves of the new Office Supply Exchange! Nervous about parting with the supplies you’ve been hording for the past 5 years? Relax – that is the beauty of the […]

WashU Relaunches Closed Loop Cooking Oil Recycling Program

This November, Washington University in St. Louis is starting a new partnership with the Rockwood School District Renewable Fuel Project to re-launch a closed loop, cradle-to-cradle cooking oil recycling program. This program will allow WashU Dining Services to fuel its three diesel catering trucks with a 50/50 blend of biodiesel year-round. It anticipates reducing the […]

Applications Available for Sustainability Internships

Applications for open internship positions with the Office of Sustainability and affiliated partners are now posted. The deadline to apply is November 12. In-person application reviews are available through November 10. Food Associate – 1 positions AVAILABLE The Office of Sustainability seeks to foster a food system that advances environmental and public health while supporting […]

Green Move-In Generates More Recycling Than Ever

Since 2013, WashU Green Ambassadors (WUGAs) have participated in a coordinated effort to welcome first-year students and quickly get them accustomed to the campus’ sustainability culture. This year, a hands-on approach, greater coordination with the Residential Life custodial staff, and diverting additional materials resulted in significant increases in waste diversion from area landfills. Highlights of […]

OneSTL Summit Builds Regional Momentum

On April 5, over 250 regional leaders, non-profit and governmental agencies, planning practitioners, and community advocates, attended the OneSTL Sustainability Summit, an event that was the result of a year-and-a-half collaboration between many of the area universities, several non profits, and East-West Gateway. The shared goal of the hosts and attendees was to learn, share information, […]

Active Transportation = Healthy Lifestyle

  Why Shift Your Commute? Being an active commuter can benefit your life in a number of ways. By incorporating active transportation into your commute, you can save money, reduce stress, and build a healthier lifestyle! Expenses associated with driving to work every day include gas, maintenance, and depreciation of the vehicle, all of which […]

Environmental Justice at WashU

This year, the introduction of a new executive administration has brought new challenges and awareness of environmental justice issues. Flint, Michigan is still feeling the effects of lead-contaminated drinking water through the city’s economic disparities. President Trump’s Executive Order recently sought to repeal the Clean Power Plan; but environmental groups, as well as some notable […]

Welcome New Office Associates

The Office of Sustainability is pleased to welcome ten new part-time associates this semester. From left to right: Sam Emery, Jenna Schnitzler, Alexis Vidaurreta, Ankita Bhalla, Camille Rieber, Sofia Joison, Annalise Wagner, Sean Fallon, Channing Hunter, and Ashwin Sundaresan. This dynamic group of students will work alongside 12 returning associates and 3.5 staff members to […]

LEED AP Exam Preparation Course

The Office of Sustainability is hosting a two-day preparation course for the LEED Accredited Professional Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD&C) exam. This exam builds on the Green Associate (GA) credential by providing expertise in a particular LEED Rating System; in this case, Building Design and Construction. The LEED AP BD&C exam is designed to […]

WashU Limits Idling Emissions

Like the State of Missouri, the City of St. Louis, and St. Louis County, WashU has been working to limit idling by vehicles. WashU’s no-idling policy has been in place since early 2009 and helps reduce the pollution caused by vehicles running when parked or waiting for passengers. Emissions produced by vehicles endanger public health […]

Food Week 2016: Know Your Foodprint

Two students work on the Burning Kumquat farm.

Food Day is a national event that takes place October 24. It is intended to inspire Americans to make healthy changes in our diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities. WashU is celebrating Food Day throughout the week of October 24-28 with a theme of Food Justice. We envision a food […]

WUGAs: Sustainability Champions

The Washington University Green Ambassador (WUGA) program launched in 2013 and gives students the opportunity to become sustainability leaders across campus. This year, 30 WUGAs completed training and are volunteering across residence halls, dining facilities, and at large events to help first-year students with waste sorting and to provide sustainability resources. Over the first 40 days of the semester, they helped […]

WashU Climate Change Negotiations

Washington University Students for International Collaboration on the Environment (WUSICE) is hosting its second annual Washington University Climate Change Negotiations (WUCCN). WUCCN is a mock climate change negotiations, modeled after the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP). WUCCN is a great opportunity for anyone interested in international negotiations, COP, […]

Medical Students Save Energy and Save Lives

During the spring 2016 semester, utilizing support from the Student Sustainability Fund, the WUSM Student Sustainability Committee distributed nearly 1,000 LED light bulbs to medical students. This project engaged future physicians in sustainability by encouraging this easy first step: changing out light bulbs. This initiative had two main goals: (i) generate tangible action on energy reduction, […]

Volunteer Opportunities Around Town

Looking for a unique way to enjoy events around town this summer? How about helping them reduce waste by interacting with attendees and educating them on properly sorting their waste? If you like getting your hands dirty, sharing your passion for recycling and composting with others, and feeling satisfied that you made a real difference […]

U-Pass Registration and Renewal

  In June 2016, the campus community will renew U-Passes for the upcoming fiscal year. If you’ve never considered commuting by train or bus, it is the ideal time to give it a try. Simply fill out a request for a U-Pass online, pick it up at the Facilities Integrated Service Center (FISC) on the […]

Alternative Transportation Options for Commuters

  Washington University supports a variety of  transportation options that lessen environmental impact, encourage healthy lifestyles, and strengthen sense of community. A few of the most popular options are: U-Pass (Metro Train and Bus Commuting)– The university provides most faculty, staff, and students with a Universal Pass (U-Pass) for the Metro public transportation system. Interested community members can check […]

Winter Metro Commuting Tips

As I stepped outside to travel to the Metro Park-Ride lot, the cold January wind started to hit my face with its bitter sting. Fortunately, I had my scarf and wrapped it around my hood as I walked to the car. One of the many reasons drivers cite as a reason to drive instead of […]

Climate Change and Public Health: Visiting Scholar

On Thursday, January 21, Dr. Joel Schwartz will visit Washington University to meet with faculty, students, and staff, and to share his expertise on the intersection of climate change and public health. Dr. Schwartz is a Professor of Environmental Epidemiology at Harvard University, under the School of Public Health and the Harvard Center for the […]