Published: June 22, 2017

Waste Management Main Photo

Waste Management Main Photo

The New School generates around two and a half million pounds of waste each year. Forty-five percent of that waste is directly diverted from a landfill through recycling and composting. Our generation of waste contributes an additional 5 percent to the total carbon emissions generated by the campus.

The university’s sustainability goals include continually striving to improve waste disposal operations, reducing the overall generation of waste, and increasing the proportion of waste that we recycle or otherwise divert from a landfill. The New School was the sole college or university participant in NYC’s Zero Waste Challenge — helping to reduce waste while providing valuable data and feedback to the city.

For additional waste trends and data, visit The New School’s Sustainability Dashboard.

Campus Waste Separation

The New School separates waste into three primary streams:

  1. Paper and Cardboard (Recycling): clean paper, paper bags, wrapping paper, magazines, newspapers, mail, and envelopes
  2. Glass, Plastic, Metal, and Cartons (Recycling): glass bottles, juice boxes, metal cans, metal caps, rigid plastics, wire hangers
  3. Landfill Waste: pens and markers, plastic bags, Styrofoam, non-compostable food containers, wrappers, paper cups, and lids

Our waste is picked up and processed by both the NYC Department of Sanitation and Action Environmental Services, depending on the building location and day of the week.


In addition to food scraps, all plates, cups, sushi containers, utensils, and straws provided by on-campus dining are compostable. The New School offers compost receptacles in several locations on campus, including the University Center and Lang Café in Johnson/Kaplan Hall. You can also submit a work order to request a compost pickup at a specific event. Collected compost is anaerobically digested at a facility in Brooklyn to generate methane, which is used as an energy source. It is then further processed into bio-solids.


Batteries can be recycled by placing them in the blue tubes located in the lobbies of most buildings on campus.

For more information on other forms of waste, including hazardous waste, visit the office of Environmental Health and Safety.

Electronic Waste

Electronic waste (e-waste) includes computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, phones, and cameras. These devices often contain hazardous materials including mercury, lead, and other heavy metals. To protect the environment, regulatory agencies require e-waste to be recycled. The New School’s e-Stewards-certified recycler, 4th Bin, ensures that waste is disposed of properly or donated when possible.


E-waste drives typically occur at the end of the year during residence move-outs. During that time, bins are located in dormitories for students and in the University Center for staff. Keep an eye out for signs, or contact your building supervisor for details.


Step 1 (For waste that does not contain sensitive data, proceed directly to step 2):

Data-containing waste such as internal and external hard drives, mobile computing devices (tablets, phones, etc.) and mobile storage devices (USB flash drives, SD cards, etc.) that have been used to process or store New School information must be erased before they are recycled. To do this, submit a request to Be sure to include the IT asset description and tag number(s) in the request for tracking purposes. This will initiate a visit from IT services to remove the parts of the e-waste that must be securely erased.

Step 2:

For the removal of any remaining non-data-sensitive or cleared e-waste, submit a facilities work order. If applicable, include the corresponding IT Central Support Request number in your Facilities work order (from step 1, to prove that sensitive materials have been cleared). Print and affix the Facilities work order and IT Central support request (if applicable) to the e-waste. Facilities will not complete removal without proper identification.

Other Waste Reduction Tips and Facts


Bring your own water bottle to campus and fill up for free at water bottle filling stations throughout campus. Bottled water is expensive and wasteful — only one third of all bottles are recycled, and they are derived from petroleum. Find water bottle filling station (PDF) locations around campus.


Any office receiving a delivery from office supply vendor W.B. Mason can give the delivery person used toner cartridges to be recycled. Offices are encouraged to designate a central location to collect old cartridges.

The larger toner cartridges that our network printers (e.g., Konica) use come with mail-back labels. Please affix these labels to the box the new toner cartridge came in and send to the Mailroom in Arnhold Hall.


All office paper on campus is FSC-certified and contains 100 percent post-consumer recycled content. Toilet paper is made of 100 percent recycled material; paper towels are made of 70 percent recycled material.


  • Forty-seven percent of the university’s food budget is spent on food grown and processed within 250 miles of campus.
  • Dining uses biodegradable (compostable) dishware, including take-out packaging, coffee cups, and utensils.
  • Dining donates unused food to the NY Common Pantry.
  • A discount is available in campus cafés for using a reusable mug.

Visit New School Dining for more information on food-related initiatives, and visit the annual Sustainability Report for more information on New School sustainability programs, including waste management.