Student Waste Reduction and Management Guidelines - Sustainability - Christopher Newport University


Student Waste Reduction and Management Guidelines

This information outlines best practices for students regarding waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and proper disposal to support Christopher Newport’s efforts to foster a sustainable working, learning, and living environment.

Decreasing the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators is an important aspect of sustainability as it reduces the need for new materials to be used, reduces disposal space and costs, protects the environment, and saves energy. University operations should be designed to reduce the generation of waste, encourage the use of reusable items, and reduce the amount of recyclable materials that go into landfills and/or incinerators.

Waste Reduction and Reuse

Christopher Newport University encourages all students to understand their role in waste generation and to reduce their impact whenever possible through reduced consumption. Only purchase what is needed and consider reusable or longer lasting options when possible. Waste reduction and reuse are preferred methods over recycling, as they reduce the need for products and materials.

  • Consider digital vs. print to eliminate unnecessary paper and ink waste. Alternatives such as using digital textbooks, reading documents online, and taking notes online can save both money and unnecessary waste.
  • Look for sustainable school supplies such as used pens, notebooks, and binders through resale stores such as Goodwill or via previous students.
  • When possible, purchase items with recycled content. Paper products, pens, and many other items offer recycled content options that reduce the need to create products with new materials.
  • Research material composition, as many materials are harmful to the environment such as plastics in production and disposal. Consider easily reusable, recyclable, or compostable items when purchasing to reduce waste. Items made from bamboo and paper products such as paper pens will be a more sustainable choice.

  • Be conscious of packaging waste by limiting purchases and requesting sustainable packing at checkout. Amazon and other sites allow for comments for sustainable packing by combining multiple items in one box.
  • When packaging is received, reuse boxes and packing materials for future outbound shipments or reuse the materials for an art project. Recycle paper and cardboard.

  • Purchase sustainably at the grocery store by buying products with sustainable paper and reduced overall packaging.
  • Buy items in bulk to reduce unnecessary packaging waste and only buy things you really need.
  • Look for packaging with recycled content and labels such as the Forest Stewardship Council to promote sustainable purchasing and reduce the need to use new materials in production.
  • Bring reusable bags to the store instead of opting for plastic or paper. This also reduces the pollution of waterways and aligns with our stormwater management plan.

  • Bring a reusable water bottle or mug instead of using a disposable.
    • A reusable mug can be used at dining locations to reduce waste.
    • There is at least one refillable water station in each building on main campus, which can be found on the Sustainability map.
  • Utilize reusable to-go containers in The Commons and Regattas dining halls to reduce the need for single use materials.
  • Avoid unnecessary food waste; it is suggested to make multiple trips for food vs. a large plate with a lot of food.
  • Avoid small heating appliances in residence halls. This reduces waste from disposable items such as coffee pods, reduces energy consumption, and promotes safety.


While waste prevention and reduction are top priorities at Christopher Newport University, waste diversion is also an important component of sustainability. Waste diversion reduces items transported to a landfill or incineration facility through recycling.

  • Recognize the recycling bins:
    • Recycling bins on campus use the slot and circle “saturn” opening to indicate accepted materials of bottles, cans, and paper and cardboard
    • Bins may have the word “Recycle” and/or the recycling symbol engraved on it instead of the restricted opening
    • Recycling bins on campus also use a clear bag to distinguish them from trash bins, which use a black bag. Place recycling items only in the clear bags to ensure proper collection.
    • Residence halls have blue bins with a recycle sign above indicating accepted materials
  • Get involved with recycling campaigns and other initiatives in your residence halls through the Sustainability Champions Leadership Program. Email Brian Kelley at to learn more.

  • In alignment with the University and the Governor's Executive Order 17, all students are strongly encouraged to recycle plastic and glass bottles, cans, paper and cardboard in designated bins.
  • Ensure all recyclables are clean of food residue and empty of any liquids.
  • Items with food residue such as ketchup, mustard bottles and soup cans should be rinsed prior to recycling.
  • Certain items are not accepted in recycling bins as these are considered contamination.
    • No take-out containers, pizza boxes, and plastics other than bottles and jugs. Place these in the trash, as they diminish the quality of recycling
  • Plastic bags shall not be placed in single-stream recycling of bottles, cans, and paper. In residence halls, recycling should be emptied from any bags used prior to placing in the common recycling room bin. Paper grocery bags are preferred over plastic for recycling collection.

  • Recycle plastic bags, ink cartridges, and batteries via three blue “special recycling” bin locations:
    • DSU (2nd floor): at the top of the stairs take a right to the student lounge
    • Freeman Center: by Warwick Boulevard Entrance
    • Trible Library (2nd floor): by the Media Center in the copier enclave
  • Donate items to Goodwill, such as clothing and electronics in any condition, as they recycle unusable items. Goodwill also accepts lightly used furniture.
  • Take used batteries to local retailers who offer recycling such as Batteries Plus and Best Buy.

  • In support of Christopher Newport’s recycling initiative, it is highly suggested to bring both a recycle bin and trash bin for use upon move-in in the residence hall.
  • Cardboard and other packing materials from move-in should be properly recycled at designated locations. Cardboard should be broken down and contamination such as styrofoam and plastic bags should be removed and disposed of properly.
  • Upon move-out, students should donate items such as clothes (any condition), electronics (any condition), and furniture such as lamps and chairs through the campus GiveItUP! program. Large blue Goodwill donation bins will be placed in residence halls and additional donation stands will also be available in April.
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