Recycling at Southwestern is single-stream, meaning all recyclables are put into the same bin. Recycling receptacles are available in both student rooms and common areas in the residence halls. Students are encouraged to recycle whenever possible rather than throwing recyclable items in a trash container. The university has made recycling bins available in all campus offices.

In order to encourage the Southwestern Community to move away from single-use water bottles, the campus installed bottle refill stations. These stations have an extra filtration component and make refilling reusable bottles easier, serving as a good visual reminder to students to carry a reusable water bottle and preventing thousands of plastic water bottles from ending up in landfills.

RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. From February 1st to March 31st, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week and are ranked in various categories. With each week’s updated ranking, participating schools follow their performance against other colleges and use the results to rally their campus to reduce and recycle more. Each university in the RecycleMania competition submits its recycling data once a week to track recycling and waste minimization.

View Southwestern University’s 2019 ranking in the competition here.


The campus dining operation provides compostable to-go containers for the SU community to use. Compost piles for food waste have been set up near the community garden.

Dog Waste

Dog waste is an environmental pollutant. In 1991, it was labeled a non-point source pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency, placing it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides; oil, grease and toxic chemicals; and acid drainage from abandoned mines. It has been estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria. At Southwestern, we love dogs visiting our campus. However, to prevent disease and environmental pollution, dog waste stations have been installed throughout campus. We use dog waste bags made from 40% recycled plastic and contain EPI’s Totally Degradable Plastic Additive that helps the plastic degrade faster in a non-toxic process.