Zero Waste Program

Image directing to the Zero Waste "What do I do with this?" waste sorting tool

What Do I Do With This?

Get a UT Austin specific answer for when to recycle, compost, landfill, donate, or work with Surplus Property or EHS to get rid of unwanted items.

Zero Waste Sorting Database

What is Zero Waste?

The Resource Recovery branch is responsible for the efficient reuse and redistribution of campus resources and manages our Zero Waste Program. It also supports the campus in the implementation of programs to achieve UT Austin's Zero Waste Goal as stated in the Sustainability Master Plan (PDF).

As represented in the Zero Waste Hierarchy page, Zero Waste is the 90% reduction of waste being sent to the landfill through both upstream (pre-consumer) and downstream (post-consumer) efforts. Achieving Zero Waste upstream can mean reducing the amount of disposable products purchased or changing food and shipping packaging. Achieving Zero Waste downstream can mean diverting materials to a recycling or compost facility instead of the landfill.


The university has a goal to demonstrate leadership in both the reduction and diversion of waste with anticipated outcomes including achieving Zero Waste and reducing per capita waste generation.

Current Diversion Rate: The 2021-2022 Fiscal Year diversion rate for campus is 30%.


The environmental benefits of Zero Waste include:

  • Resource and energy conservation
  • Waste and pollution reduction
  • Greenhouse gas reduction

For more information about the environmental benefits of Zero Waste efforts please see our Zero Waste Hierarchy page.