The New School Takes On The NYC Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge

ZWCpictureEvery week the average New Yorker throws out nearly 9 pounds of waste at work and in commercial establishments. In 2015, Mayor de Blasio launched One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City—referred to as “OneNYC.” The plan includes a roadmap for achieving a goal of zero waste to landfills by 2030. The Zero Waste Challenge (ZWC), run by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, invites institutions to match the City’s zero waste goals. The Mayor’s Office is challenging participants to divert 50% of their waste from landfill by June 15, 2016. This means keeping half The New School’s total waste out of landfills.The New School started the Zero Waste Challenge with a baseline diversion rate of 17.8% by weight. This means that 17.8% of the university’s total waste was recycled or composted instead of being sent to a landfill. In order to help achieve the goal of reaching a 50% diversion rate at The New School, all students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to consider the following strategies:

  • Reduce and reuse - Be mindful of the materials you use, and re-use what you can. Try using the back of one-sided prints to take notes. Disassemble a completed project and use the pieces for your next assignment, or donate the pieces to the Green Supply Center located on the 4th floor of 2 West 13th Street.
  • Go Paperless - Read and submit assignments online. Take advantage of campus technology resources to hold paperless meetings.
  • B.Y.O. Containers - Be sure to bring your own reusable water bottle or coffee mug and take advantage of free water from bottle filling stations around campus and discounted coffee refills at New School cafeterias.
  • Recycle Correctly - Separate paper and cardboard from plastics and glass. Do not dispose of trash in a recycling bin: this can contaminate a whole bag of recyclable material.
  • Compost - Compost collection is available in the New School cafeterias. All New School cafeteria take-out containers and cups are compostable as well.

Follow The New School’s progress increasing the university waste diversion rate by checking the posters in the University Center cafeteria and the Lang Cafe.For questions about the Zero Waste Challenge, contact Molly Johnson, Sustainability Associate, Tishman Environment and Design Center ( or Erik Eibert, Assistant Director, Sustainable Initiatives, Buildings (