Sustainability

Reducing Consumption and Sorting Waste

Help reduce landfill waste by recycling, donating and composting.

To continue progress toward the University’s waste diversion goal, we rely on all Brown community members to reduce their consumption of nonreusable items — such as disposable coffee cups and plastic wrap — and to properly sort their waste.

Sort Your Waste

Brown separates most waste into five streams: general recycling, landfill waste, compost, electronic or special waste and donations. By sorting your waste you are actively preventing reusable and/or hazardous material from entering Rhode Island’s one and only landfill.

Throwing recyclable materials into the trash is a tremendous waste. At the same time, just a few trash items thrown into recycling bins could lead to an entire load of recycling being rejected and sent to the landfill. In order to divert as much waste as possible from the landfill, Brown relies upon all of its community members to properly sort their waste.

Single stream recycling means one container for all recyclables.
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Transforming organic materials such as food waste into a nutrient-rich, natural fertilizer.
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Depending on the material, there are a few options available to properly dispose of your electronic and special waste.
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Reduce Your Consumption

Making new products requires energy and materials, which can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. And while recycling helps to reduce landfill waste, that requires energy, too. One of the most impactful ways to contribute to a more sustainable world is to simply reduce our consumption of new goods.

Pink water bottleInstead of buying a single-use water bottle, invest in a reusable water bottle that you can fill at one of the many filling stations on campus. Brown is a plastic water bottle-free campus.

Pro tip: Save money and avoid waste by bringing a reusable mug to the Blue Room and local coffee shops.

Avoid more single-use plastic by bringing your own set of reusable utensils and straws to takeout dining halls like Andrews.

Mason jars filled with saladIf you need new items during move-in, check out platforms like Brown Buying and Selling, where you can buy used from community members. Or go on a shopping spree to the many secondhand shops Providence has to offer.

Say no to plastic and paper bags at the supermarket by using your own reusable bags.

Avoid plastic packaging at the supermarket when possible by filling up your own dishes with bulk items. Whole Foods, Urban Greens Co-op Market, and farmers markets like Farm Fresh RI make it easier to avoid excessive plastic packaging.

Lawn mower cutting grassIf you need large lawn equipment like mowers, tillers and chainsaws, set up a sharing program with your neighbors.

Instead of buying bagged fertilizer, leave grass clippings in your yard where they will decompose and return nutrients to the soil. You can also compost your food and add the finished product to your garden soil.

Green Packing List

Before coming to Brown in the fall, check out our green packing list below to learn how you can make sustainable purchases, where you can find green products and what you can get for free at Brown.