Consumption & Waste

Barnard has a long history of addressing issues of consumption and waste on campus and is currently enhancing efforts to continue to engage the entire community.

New Initiatives

Barnard is improving waste collection and recycling on campus by regularizing bin locations and signage, introducing single stream recycling, piloting organics (food scraps) collection, and increasing education and awareness in our community of proper waste sorting. Watch the video to learn more!

Waste Collection & Single-Stream Recycling | Blue & Gray Bins

Throughout our campus, you may have noticed new waste collection stations, with signage to support easy sorting of materials. One highlight of these stations is single-stream recycling: all paper, metal, glass, and plastic can be placed together in the blue bins. Gray bins are only for waste that should go to landfill. To help reduce Barnard's waste in landfills, we encourage everyone to take a moment to read the signs and pause to sort correctly.

Organics Collection / Composting | Yellow Bins

The College is piloting organics (food scraps) collection bins across campus. You can find these yellow bins in the lobbies of Barnard Hall, Milbank Hall, Altschul Hall and The Diana Center, as well as in Hewitt Dining Hall, The Diana Center Café and at Liz's Place. Additionally, 16 departments also have organics collection bins in their suites. After collection, organics are sent to off-campus facilities where they are converted into compost or renewable energy. Since organics can represent as much as 30 percent of solid waste on campus, your efforts in sorting can make a big impact on campus and beyond. We look forward to reporting back on the outcomes of this pilot project.

Have you started to collect your organics? Contact to request a small bin for your office!


Faculty members and staff are encouraged to add these new signs to classrooms and offices.

Ongoing Initiatives

Dining Halls

Barnard Dining Halls source produce from local farms on Long Island.  Food scraps are then collected in a biodigester.


In 2016, Barnard piloted the "ReBear" program that reduces the purchase of excessive goods.

Water Bottle Filling Stations 

The college has 29 water bottle filler stations throughout campus.

Office Supplies & Furniture 

Barnard contracts with local vendors to source office supplies and combines orders to reduce packing materials and the number of delivery days. Copier paper used on campus also contains 30% post-consumer recycled content. Printers are also defaulted to print double sided and are set to energy savings mode after ten minutes of inactivity.

Campus furniture is nearly always sourced in North America and is made with recycled materials whenever possible. Scrapped furniture is repurposed whenever possible instead of being disposed and mattresses are always donated to avoid landfill.

Finally, Facilities uses "green" cleaning supplies.