UMass Amherst's mascot, Sam the Minuteman, demonstrates how to use recycling and compost bins on campus

UMass Amherst Among Top Institutions for Waste Diversion

UMass Amherst ranks among the top institutions in North America for its waste diversion efforts in the 2023 Campus Race to Zero Waste competition. UMass Amherst joined with more than 3.4 million students and staff from 200 colleges and universities representing 40 U.S. states and Canada to reduce their campus waste footprint by donating, composting and recycling more than 29.4 million pounds of waste collectively.

In the competition's diversion category, UMass Amherst ranked No. 2 among large campuses and No. 6 overall, with a waste diversion rate of 60.3%.

recycle symbol

The university recycled nearly 294,000 pounds of waste during the eight-week competition period, roughly eight pounds per person on campus. Another 435,000 pounds of food waste went to Vanguard Renewables/Barstow’s Farm in Hadley for biofuel production and 109,000 pounds went to Martin’s Farm in Greenfield for composting.

Through its waste diversion efforts, UMass Amherst cut greenhouse gas emissions by 526 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, comparable to taking over 100 cars off the road or powering 46 homes for an entire year.

In addition to its waste-diversion and recycling programs, the university hosts one of the largest sustainable move-out and reuse programs in the nation. Each year, New2U collects thousands of pounds of gently used items from students during spring move-out that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Student interns test, clean and organize the items over the summer. During fall move-in, New2U hosts a giant tag sale for incoming students, where they can outfit an entire dorm room for under $200.

More information on UMass Amherst’s efforts to minimize waste is available at