Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 2010



The goal of this study was to conduct a comparative analysis of three university recycling programs. This study looked at several aspects of the programs that included the diversion rates, per capita ratios of materials recycled and disposed, and the average net costs of waste disposal and waste diversion. The universities included in this study were the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of Oregon.

To gather the information necessary for this analysis, I contacted each of the university’s recycling coordinators. To determine the average net costs of waste disposal and waste diversion I requested both the recycling budget and solid waste budget from each university for the fiscal years of interest which included: 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2008-2009. To calculate the diversion rates and per capita ratios, I requested performance records from each university listing the tonnage of materials recycled and disposed for the same years.

This study’s findings reported that the average net costs for waste diversion in all three universities were $22-$122 less per ton than costs for waste collection and disposal. This study also indicated that the universities with the highest diversion and recycling rates were the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Oregon. The university with the lowest waste generated per capita was the University of Oregon followed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.