Johns Hopkins University is active in reducing waste and promoting recycling and composting on all of its campuses. In the last complete fiscal year (2016), Johns Hopkins University achieved an overall waste diversion rate of 43%, surpassing its standing goal of 35%. We are poised to do even better in fiscal year 2017.

The university has also developed initiatives focused on source reduction, including reducing total paper consumption.  When we do buy paper products, our goal is to use post-consumer recycled content paper.  For example, campuses use at least 50% post-consumer recycled content for bathroom products, with most using 100%. 

In 2016, the Office of Sustainability worked with the Office of Communication to design new wastebin signage. It's currently being installed across the university.


All of Johns Hopkins’ campuses have robust and convenient recycling programs. Methods and bins used for collecting recyclables vary by campus and division, but all paper and cardboard, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans and foil, and plastic containers #1-6 (excluding polystyrene) are recyclable. Other unique programs exist for items such as writing utensils, which are collected by departments and offices, and sent to the Office of Sustainability to recycle through TerraCycle. Electronics can be recycled anytime at Homewood and at annual drives in East Baltimore. Mechanisms for ink/toner cartridge recycling vary by campus. Styrofoam can be recycled at semi-annual collections, and individuals can always utilize corporate take back programs. Homewood Housing and Residence Life Offices host move-out collections for Goodwill.  Click on your campus/division for specific recycling information and resources under the “Campus Profiles” section of the site.


Organic and biodegradable waste collected for compost on campus is taken off-site to a service facility where it is processed into soil for gardening and farming in the region.  Beyond creating a new useful product, composting also diminishes the public and environmental health problems caused by traditional waste disposal at landfills and incinerators. Air pollution from the burning and burying of waste in landfills causes public health and environmental problems such as cancer, asthma, and species and habitat loss.  Campus compost programs accept all food scraps (pre and postconsumer); all paper products like plates, coffee cups, napkins, and paper towels; and compostable utensils made from biodegradable material. Click on your campus/division to determine if compost collection is available where you are under the “Campus Profiles”  section of the site.

Reduction and Reuse Initiatives

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle is not just a neat catch phrase; it is an order of processes.  Reducing the amount of stuff used is always the first priority. For everything left over, we look for opportunities to reuse the stuff, and then finally we recycle what is left over.  Everyone is invited to donate unwanted goods from their working and living spaces – from furniture and office supplies, to electronics and clothing – to one or more of the many reuse and donation programs at the university.

  • As undergraduates move out of residence halls in May and July, donation bins and trucks make it easy for students to donate their unwanted items, ensuring they are reused and not unnecessarily disposed of. The Eco-Smart Move Out Program is a collaboration between Community Living, Homewood Recycling, and Sustainability.
  • Furniture reuse programs are available at both Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine are designed to reuse and recycle office furniture rather than simply purchasing new items. 
  • BootUpBaltimore refurbishes recycled computer equipment and provides free computers and hands-on computer instruction to students in need in Baltimore public schools. They accept drop-off donations of functional computer equipment at the Center for Social Concern, 3103 N. Charles Street on the Homewood campus.

Green Events

Ongoing efforts to reduce and properly divert waste from major campus events can significantly impact JHU's sustainability. Orientation, commencement, move-in, move-out, and SOHOP are major events that have achieved zero-waste through careful planning and procurement. Interested in making your event, large or small, greener? Take advantage of the Green Event Planning resources for helpful how-to's.

Ideas in Action

Think before you print.

Office paper is highly recyclable, but a lot gets wasted. Waste reduction is more cost-effective than recycling because it reduces the amount of material that needs to be collected, transported and processed.