• Managing Waste and Improving Resource Efficiency

    managing waste banner

    Facilities Management coordinates disposal of all types of waste on campus. This includes the recycling and composting programs and the management of regulated waste.


    The New School currently offers a three-bin system for collection of landfill waste, paper and cardboard, and mixed recycling (metal, glass, and plastic).

    As of April 2013, NYC recycles all rigid plastics. Please place these items (yogurt containers, plastic utensils, clam shells, etc.) in the "mixed recycling" bin regardless of the items indicated in the sign.

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle poster

    In spring 2011, Facilities Management expanded the recycling program by beginning to replace existing signs with new ones that have clear illustrations and by increasing the number of classrooms that have recycling signs and separate bins for landfill waste, paper, and mixed recyclables.


    The New School now offers an expanded compost program. This reduces the amount of waste being landfilled. Food scraps collected on campus are picked up by our waste hauler who takes them to a commercial composting facility, where they decompose into nutrient-rich crumbly material. The finished compost, or humus, is used to improve soil and provides essential nutrients to plants when added to gardens.

    All plates, cups, sushi containers, utensils and straws provided by on-campus dining are compostable.

    Compost poster

    In spring 2011, Facilities Management expanded the composting program.

    Food Waste Collection Locations

    • 13th Street Residence Cafeteria
    • Eugene Lang, 65 West 11th Street, Lang Café
    • Parsons East, 25 East 13th Street, floors 2, 3, 4, and 5
    • Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, Café 55 and Library Café
    • The University Center Cafeteria and Cafes

    For information on other composting initiatives in New York City, visit the New York City Compost Project website.

    Ways to Manage Resource Efficiency

  • Reusable Water Bottles

    Bring your own water bottle to campus and fill up on chilled, filtered NYC water -- for free -- at water bottle filling stations throughout campus. Bottled water is expensive and wasteful -- only one-third of all bottles are recycled and they are made from crude oil. Find water bottle filling station (PDF) locations around campus.


    Members of the New School community can recycle batteries by putting them in the blue tubes located around campus. Visit the Environmental Health and Safety web page for more information.

    Electronic Waste

    Electronic waste (e-waste) includes, but is not limited to: computers, monitors, keyboards, pointing devices, printers, phones, cameras, radios, and televisions. These devices often contains hazardous materials including mercury, lead, and other heavy metals. To protect the environment, regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation require that e-waste be recycled. The New School’s e-Stewards certified e-waste recycler ensures that the highest global standards are adhered to across campus, and that waste is either disposed of properly or donated where possible.

    For Student-Owned e-waste Disposal:

    Organized e-waste drives typically occur during residence move-outs at the end of the semester to make disposal as simple as possible. Keep an eye out for signs or contact your building supervisor.

    For University-Owned e-waste Disposal (should have proper asset tag):

    1. Internal and external hard drives, mobile computing devices (tablets, phones, etc.) and mobile storage devices (USB flash drives, SD cards, etc.) that have been used to process or store New School information must be securely erased before they are recycled to ensure that information is not disclosed to unauthorized persons. If you have any of these items that need to be recycled, please submit an IT Central Support Request or email for assistance. Be sure to include the IT asset description and tag number(s) in the request for tracking purposes. This will initiate a visit from IT services to remove the parts of the e-waste that must be securely erased.
    2. For the removal of any remaining non data-sensitive e-waste, please submit a Facilities Work Order. If applicable, include the corresponding IT Central Support Request # in your Facilities work order (to prove sensitive materials in computers have been removed). Print and affix the Facilities work order and IT Central Support Request (if applicable) to the e-waste. Facilities cannot complete removal without proper identification.


    It is estimated that 13 toner cartridges are discarded in the U.S. each second. These days, it's very easy to recycle these plastic cases. At The New School, any office receiving a delivery from office supplies vendor W.B. Mason can give the delivery person used toner cartridges to be recycled. Offices are encouraged to designate a central location to collect old cartridges.

    The larger toner cartridges that our network printers (i.e. Konica) use come with mail-back labels. Please affix these labels to the box the new toner cartridge came in and send it to the Mailroom in Arnhold Hall.

    Of course, a good way to reduce your office's use of these cartridges is to set your computer to print double-sided.

    Materials Reuse

    Since spring 2011, the Parsons Green Supply Center and the Green List have been helping The New School reduce waste on campus.

    Parsons Green Supply Center

    The goal of the Parsons Green Supply Center (PGSC) is to find creative ways to reuse waste streams. PGSC keeps reusable materials-plywood and solid wood off-cuts, discarded metal, fabric remnants, furniture, electronics, and others-out of landfills by housing them and making them available, without cost or limit, to students, faculty, and staff. The simple collection/redistribution loop exemplifies The New School's commitment to integrating sustainable practices into all areas and to promoting ecological literacy among students, faculty, and staff. Visit the Parsons Green Supply Center at 2 West 13th Street, 4th floor, or online.

    The Green List

    The Green List is a place for all students and faculty at The New School to buy, sell, and trade art supplies, textbooks, clothing, and other school items directly with each other. In the same way that commercial online classified advertising sites work, users can upload details and images of their wares to the Green List and interested parties can respond online.

    Waste Minimization Plan

    Integral to successful waste management are minimization strategies for each waste stream.

    To manage waste and improve resource efficiency, The New School:

    • Purchases office paper containing 100 percent post-consumer content
    • Prints on recycled-content and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper using FSC-certified venders
    • Purchases 100 percent recycled-content toilet paper and 70 percent recycled-content paper towels for the entire campus
    • Purchases napkins with a minimum of 30 percent recycled content
    • Purchases food that is grown or raised locally (47 percent of the university's food budget is spent on food grown and processed within 250 miles of campus.)
    • Provides only biodegradable (compostable) dishware including take-out packaging, coffee cups, and utensils
    • Encourages the use of reusable bottles and tap water by banning the sale of bottled water on campus.
    • Uses filtered tap water rather than rented water coolers in offices.
    • Offers a discount ($0.99/cup of coffee) in campus cafés when a reusable mug is used
    • Substitutes cardboard boxes with reusable plastic crates for internal relocations
    • Collects unwanted clothing, food, and electronics at moving-out events in residence halls and then donates or recycles collected items

    Future Goals

    The university's plans for the future include the following:

    • Pursue new strategies to reduce even further New School waste sent to landfills
    • Institute a policy that all paper products, including tissues, notepads, and paper towels, must have at least 30 percent recycled content
    • Continue reducing the number of delivery cycles of products throughout the university and request reduced packaging from suppliers

    Benchmarking The New School's Waste

    In fall 2009, Facilities Management hired consultant Great Forest to audit the university's waste streams.

    Observations from the study include:

    • The current campus diversion rate—calculated as total recyclables by weight over the total weight of trash plus recyclables—is 23 percent.
    • The diversion rate in academic buildings is 24 percent.
    • The diversion rate in residence halls is 20 percent.
    • The academic buildings with the lowest diversion rates were the Schwartz Fashion Center, 560 Seventh Avenue (7.24 percent) and the Albert and Vera List Academic Center, 79 Fifth Avenue (16.95 percent).
    • The academic buildings with the highest diversion rates were Parsons East, 25 East 13th Street (31.89 percent) and the Johnson/Kaplan Hall complex, 66 West 12th Street/65 West 11th Street (37.79 percent).
    • The residence hall with the highest diversion rate was the 13th Street Residence, (28.05 percent).
    • The residence hall with the lowest diversion rate was Stuyvesant Park (14.69 percent).
    • Campus-wide "trash" included only 42 percent trash. The rest was made up of 28 percent compostable materials, 21 percent mixed paper, and 9 percent glass, metal, and plastic bottles.
    • The predominant materials in the "trash" were paper coffee cups from outside vendors, plastic bags, paper bags, and take-out food containers.
    • Campus-wide the recycling stream was very clean, with only 13 percent contamination in the "mixed" (glass, metal, plastic) stream and 4 percent contamination in the paper stream.
    • In the residence halls, the "mixed" stream had a higher percentage of "trash" in it as compared to the rest of the campus.
    • In dining facilities, 70 percent of the "trash" was made up of compostable materials.