Waste Audits & Recyclemania


Sustainability staff perform a qualitative audit of campus apartment garbage bins and find that up to 80% (by weight) of what was thrown out could be recycled or composted.



SPU decides to combine its waste audit process with Recyclemania, a nationwide recycling competition for colleges and universities.


Recyclemania schools are required to use a consistent methodology to collect accurate waste stream data over the course of the ten-week competition. Recyclemania rankings are based on waste stream composition by weight.


In its first year of participation, Seattle Pacific recycles nearly 150,000 pounds of paper, bottles, and cans to achieve an impressive 52% recycling rate.



Ecovive conducts annual waste audits, measuring the volume of materials recycled and thrown away in order to track overall recycling trends and identify areas of improvement. 


Over the course of a month, student employees record the fullness of garbage and recycle containers prior to pickup.  These observations are compiled at the end of the month to determine the percent—by volume—of Seattle Pacific's waste diverted from the landfill.


The results of these waste audits show that the SPU community has tackled waste diversion head-on, going from a 15% landfill diversion rate in 1999 to a 67% diversion rate in 2007. 


This chart shows SPU's gradual improvement from a 15% recycling rate in 1999 to a 67% recycling rate in 2007.