Recycling and Waste Diversion

As a campus, Michigan Tech generates over 750 tons of landfill waste annually.  That equates to over 250 pounds for every full-time student and staff on campus. In 2022, we kept 157 tons of materials from the landfill through recycling and reuse programs on campus, for a “diversion rate” of 17.4%. 

Our goal is to reduce our per-capita waste going to the landfill by 1% annually between 2021 and 2035.  We have a comprehensive plan in place to achieve that goal, which includes the following elements:

  • Gather data through waste characterization studies across campus, including in dining halls and academic and residential buildings 
  • Improve infrastructure for single stream recycling - expanding signage, receptacles, and dumpsters to maximize visibility and overall ease of single stream recycling
  • Develop a comprehensive food waste reduction program with our dining services provider (2023)
  • Increase the visibility and impact of waste reduction efforts at public events such as athletics, Winter Carnival, new student check-in/welcome, catered events, and graduation (2023)
  • Build out capacity for reuse of university property via innovative purchasing and rehoming programs (2025)
  • Set a policy of diverting a minimum of 75% of waste from all construction and remodel projects (2023)
  • Deliver educational programs to create a culture of waste reduction on campus

Current Waste Reduction Initiatives

Student weighs plastic film

Plastic Film Recycling Program

In 2021, Michigan Tech launched the Plastic Film Recycling Program that allows all campus users to recycle stretchy plastic film such as bubble wrap and plastic bags.  All materials will live a second life as Trex composite decking.

Students holding boxes

Husky Exchange Move-In/Move-Out Program

The Husky Exchange Program gathers donations of unwanted but usable materials from students during residence hall move-out week and gets them to non-profit organizations or back to students in the fall.

Clothing Closet DHH

DHH Clothing Closet

The Clothing Closet Collective provides a free clothing store where all students can donate or pick up “new to them” clothes. The Collective also gathers business clothes for career day and graduation gowns for commencement.

Husky Food Pantry

Husky FAN Food Pantry

The Husky Food Access Network (FAN) food pantry in Fisher Hall provides free food to any student or community member in need.

For more information on how to recycle on campus, please visit our Where To Throw page.