Smiling young women wearing "Waste reduction" branded t-shirts


For over four decades, the University of Alberta has been working to reduce the volume of waste it generates. In the early 1970s, the University of Alberta began a paper and cardboard recycling program. Today, expanded programs include leading edge solutions for organic waste. The university continues to be a leader in waste management, diverting over 1,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year.


  1. The university aims to divert 90 per cent of waste from the landfill by 2020.
  2. Over half of the waste created on campus is compostable. 
  3. Approximately 92 per cent of campus waste can be recycled.
  4. The university recycles beverage containers, mixed paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, light metals, batteries, toner cartridges, electronics—even helium!


The University of Alberta is committed to taking a Zero Waste approach to waste management. Proceeds from beverage container deposits on North Campus help fund the Office of Sustainability’s Green Grants program which supports sustainability projects identified by students, staff and faculty.

Find out what can be recycled on campus.


With the majority of campus waste being organic, composting can go a long way toward diverting the university’s waste from landfills. The organics composting program has been growing over the past years. Currently, the university focuses on collecting pre-consumer waste from the kitchens of food service operations. Post-consumer pilot projects are also underway.

In 2007, organics collection was introduced to food service operations in the Students’ Union Building and in Lister Centre. These pre-consumer systems collect food scraps from the kitchens. Post-consumer organic waste is also collected from the composting bins in the seating area. 

In 2010, the first post-consumer pilot project was introduced to the Graduate Residence in East Campus Village. Residents are provided with in-suite bins, and organic waste is collected from the outdoor huts alongside the other waste and recycling.

In 2014, the university announced a partnership with the City of Edmonton  to build a High Solids Anaerobic Digestion Facility at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre. Projected to open in 2017/18, each year the facility will convert 40,000 tonnes of organic waste into energy and value-added products like compost. Of this, UAlberta will contribute 1,500 tonnes of organic waste.

Hazardous Waste

The university’s responsibility does not end with the traditional blue box. A range of hazardous and oversized items can be reused or recycled with the help of Facilities & Operations.

Recycle electronics, furniture, lab equipment, printer cartridges, batteries, and more. Simply contact your Facility Services Manager.

Learn More

What You Can Do

Did You Know?

Organic waste collected on campus is sent to a local composting facility. In return, the University of Alberta receives one tonne of finished compost for every tonne of organic waste sent out. This valuable fertilizer is used in flower and shrub beds all over campus.

One hand holding dirt, another holding fruit scraps