Recycling and Municipal Solid Waste Management Policy

I. Scope

This policy applies to George Mason University employees, students, contractors, and visitors. The policy governs recycling and Municipal Solid Waste management at all properties owned, leased, or controlled by George Mason University.

II. Policy Statement

In accordance with Virginia Code § 10.1-1425.6, all public institutions of higher education are required to establish a program for the use of recycled materials and the collection of recyclable materials.

George Mason University shall strive to increase its Waste Diversion rate by improving education, outreach, recycling infrastructure and use, and food Waste reduction efforts. Mason is committed to creating and supporting innovative solutions, including re-using and the proper recycling of Durable Goods, in the pursuit of becoming a Zero-Waste university. Key areas for improvement include increasing Mason’s Waste Diversion rate, strengthening Source Reduction, identifying resource and cost-saving opportunities, and process efficiencies.

Improvements to Mason’s recycling and Waste management practices will be prioritized by reducing Mason’s environmental footprint and the payback period. Waste not capable of being diverted will be disposed of using environmentally friendly processes whenever possible.

Specific Recycling and Waste Management goals include:

  • A Waste Diversion rate of 50 percent
  • Continue to improve the accessibility, visibility, and use of recycling on campus
  • Reduce and divert food Waste from Mason’s Waste stream, aided to the extent feasible by implementing a composting program

III. Definitions

Waste: objects or materials without an intended use or reuse.

Waste Diversion: the combined management efforts of Waste prevention, reuse, repurposing, and recycling practices to reduce wasted resources.

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW): waste generated in households, commercial establishments, institutions, and businesses. MSW includes used paper, discarded cans and bottles, food scraps, yard trimmings, and other items. Industrial process wastes, agricultural wastes, mining waste, and sewage sludge are not MSW.

Source Reduction: any action that avoids the creation of Waste by reducing Waste at the source, including the preferential purchasing of products or packaging so that less material is used; making voluntary or imposed behavioral changes in the purchasing and use of materials; or increasing durability or re-usability of materials.

Durable Goods: goods provide utility over time and for the purpose of this policy, the term Durable Goods includes, at a minimum: office equipment (computers, monitors, copiers, printers, fax machines); appliances (refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, water coolers, microwaves); vehicles and machinery; external power adapters; cell phones; televisions; and other audiovisual equipment, and similar long-lasting items.

Zero-Waste: diverting a minimum of 90 percent of Waste to re-use, recycling, or composting facilities with a maximum of 10 percent going to the landfills.

IV. Compliance

Facilities Management has overall responsibility for recycling and Waste management and will develop, implement, and track its progress with a comprehensive Waste management program.

V. Dates

A. Effective Date:

This policy will become effective upon the date of approval by the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and the Provost and Executive Vice President.

B. Date of Most Recent Review:


VI. Timetable for Review

This policy, and any related procedures, shall be reviewed every five years or more frequently as needed.

VII. Signatures


Senior Vice President


Date approved: March 19, 2004

Revision approved: January 28, 2019