Waste in Rhode Island is a significant concern due to limited landfill space and proximity to waterways and the ocean. Brown has taken aggressive steps to minimize waste coming onto campus,and to divert waste leaving campus from the landfill through recycling and composting.
In 2016, the Office of Sustainability set an aggressive, aspirational goal of diverting 50% of the University's waste through the implementation of compost in dining facilities, increased donation rates and improved education about waste-sorting practices.
Recycling, donating and composting means that less material ends up in our landfill. Waste that breaks down in the landfill increases the risk of soil, water, and air pollution and creates the greenhouse gas methane that is significantly worse than carbon dioxide. A significant amount of the waste we currently send to the landfill is considered contamination — waste that could have been diverted into other waste streams but when it’s mixed with landfill waste, it often cannot be sorted out at the landfill.