Waste Management

In 1990, York University adopted a policy to achieve a 50% waste reduction by the year 2000. To meet this goal, Campus Services and Business Operations formalized a comprehensive, multi-faceted waste management and diversion program in the mid-1990s. The program experienced early success and, in response, a more ambitious goal was set to reach 65% solid waste recycling ratio by the year 2013. By the end of 2019 we had diverted 70.73% of the waste generated on our campuses.
York University launched its ZeroWaste program in 2010 to increase waste diversion and expand green initiatives


On June 7, 2010 the University launched its ZeroWaste program to build on existing waste diversion and green cleaning initiatives.

Organic Food Waste

All kitchenettes have been equipped with an organic waste container for all food scraps, which students, staff and faculty should use to throw away any organic waste. More outdoor organic digesters and battery recycling bin have been added to campus to allow for greater convenience. See the Waste Diversion Map for locations.

Green Cleaning Initiative

Offices are equipped with communal tri-bins and individual waste bins are emptied by the individual staff/faculty members who generate the waste. By becoming responsible for removing their own waste, individuals will have a greater awareness of the waste they produce and custodial services resources can be allocated elsewhere.


Stand alone garbage bins are being removed and replaced with more tri-bins in the interior and exterior of campus. In-ground tri-bins will increasingly be used around the exterior of campus, because they have a larger capacity and use gravity compaction, requiring less frequent emptying.

Expanded Recyling

New types of materials are being captured for recycling, in participation with Stewardship Ontario and through other diversion programs. In partnership with Printing Services, clearer labels have been developed for tri-bins and organic digesters to increase waste diversion and reduce contamination of waste streams.

Engagement Initiatives

Waste management tools have been launched to engage the community in ZeroWaste including:

Eco-Takeout Program - Food Services

Urban Cultivator - Food Services

Water Bottle Free Campus - Food Services

Res Race To Zero - Residence Life

Lug-a-Mug Discount Program - Grounds, Fleet & Waste Management

We are quickly approaching our waste diversion goal – you can help us achieve and surpass it by participating in campus waste reduction and diversion initiatives and programs.