Zero Waste Program

In 2011 the University of Michigan established a goal to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by 40% below the 2006 baseline by 2025.

As 35-40% of our landfilled waste is compostable, leadership has made a strong commitment to expanding food waste composting on campus. Increasing efforts to divert compostable material supports the waste reduction goal and helps create a culture of sustainability.

A zero waste event is any one-time program, occasion or event where the goal is to achieve as much waste diversion from the landfill as possible. A zero waste event works to reduce, recycle and compost as much as possible.

Composting at campus events is becoming increasingly popular among students, faculty and staff. The overall weight of compost collected by the Waste Reduction and Recycling Office (WRRO) has increased significantly, from 168 tons in FY 14, to over 226 tons in FY 15.

The Zero Waste Program, a collaboration between the Office of Campus Sustainability (OCS) and WRRO, provides technical assistance and resources to units, departments and groups to reduce compostable waste being landfilled.

The Zero Waste Program offers a number of resources to help your event be successful, including a Zero Waste Composting Guide. Contact us as soon as possible to tell us about your event so that we can assure your event will be successful.

The Zero Waste Program is open to all on the U-M Ann Arbor Campus. To start planning for composting at your event, follow these steps:

1) Review the Zero Waste Composting Guide
2) Submit the POCC work order (instructions can be found in the guide)
3) For assistance in making your events zero waste:

Staff:   email 
Students:  email or fill out this Materials Request Form

To increase the program reach and impact, an expanded zero waste events program will be phased in across campus. Early phases will focus on locations with existing composting programs, including buildings with food service or that frequently host events. Buildings that currently have compost bins for events will also be included. Once vetted through these locations, the program will be expanded to include locations that have Sustainable Workplace Program certification or a Planet Blue Ambassador committed to educating other staff and planning and coordinating recurring events.

Questions? Contact us at

Planning Resources

Event Resources