Buildings Community Waste

Hillman Hall Takes the Race to Zero Waste Challenge

The Office of Sustainability and Brown School of Social Work are pleased to announce that Hillman Hall has accepted the Race to Zero Waste Challenge as part of WashU’s participation in RecycleMania. RecycleMania is an annual national competition where higher education institutions report waste diversion data and compete with each other to reduce and recycle as much waste as possible.

Race to Zero Waste is a 4-week challenge (February 26 – March 31) in which a variety of strategies will be rolled out to push the community of building users (faculty, staff, students, guests and cafe diners) to drastically reduce waste, shifting to recycling and composting where ever possible.

The Brown School has demonstrated leadership in making strategic investments that align with their academic principles and communal values. Reducing and recycling waste has direct connections to positive social and public health outcomes and reduces the negative impact of waste on the most vulnerable people and places in our community. We hope that the challenge experience will result in permanent changes and serve as a case study when advocating for similar changes across campus. 

Here are some of the key strategies to look out for over the upcoming weeks:

  • Expanded compost collection: All waste stations in communal spaces will sort for three materials streams – recycling, compost, and landfill, including office kitchenettes
  • Outreach: Trained Recycling Geniuses will be stationed at the main sorting areas during select high-traffic times to help people sort waste. In addition, a staff and faculty presentation will take place over Spring Break
  • Educational Signage: New signage will be posted in Grounds for Change and over the waste sorting stations.
  • Waste audits: We will conduct an extensive waste audit on the afternoon of Friday March 30. Stop by to see how we are doing!

Would you like to get involved or attend a training? Contact


Feeling like your sorting skills are a little rusty? Here are the main things to remember:

  • Reduce where possible!
    • Avoid coffee cups by subscribing to the bottomless mug program
    • Bring your own reusable containers and cups from home
    • Carry reusable utensils with you or keep them in your office
  • Compost: food and uncoated paper products only!
    • Paper to-go boxes
    • Napkins
  • Recycling: NO food or liquids!
    • NO paper to-go boxes (unless they are clean and dry)
    • Coffee cups and plastic forks are NOT recyclable!

Compost collection is not available in classrooms or individual offices. Please make an extra effort to take your compostable materials to the collection points in communal spaces. For more detailed explanations, visit the recycling FAQ.

Please join us by simply pausing to sort your waste and spread the word!

A big “thank you” to the Hillman Hall Facilities and Operations team for their contributions to this effort!