A compost disposal unit in the Student Union


Almost everything you use can be reduced, reused or recycled. Learn how you can make your disposal habits more sustainable with on-campus compost, local donation centers, reduction of single-use products and more.


"Wasteland, Baby!"
by Hozier


101 Ways to Go Zero Waste
by Kathryn Kellogg


No Impact Man
directed by Justin Schein and Laura Gabbart

Reduce, reduce, reduce. Simply avoiding buying more new things is good for the environment and your wallet. It can also bring peace of mind as you are not being weighed down by so much STUFF!

  • Curb unnecessary purchases by asking yourself: do I really need this? This will help you to understand your purchasing patterns and make your buying habits more sustainable.

  • For every single-use item you find in your daily routine, such as a disposable coffee cup, find a reusable replacement.

  • Share or trade reusable items with friends. Sharing is caring.

Think outside the box for nifty ways to reuse old, unwanted items. 

  • Choose durable, long-lasting or used items when you shop. Many used items are just as high quality (if not higher) than many cheaply made single-use products, and buying durable new products will save you money in the long run.

  • If you catch yourself with a single use item, like to-go containers or Ziploc bags, make them reusable! Wash and keep them to be reused many times over.

  • Repurpose or repair old items, including clothes and furniture. You can search Pinterest for cool upcycling and/or repurposing ideas.

What do light bulbs, mattresses and car batteries all have in common? They, along with many other everyday items, can be recycled! If you can't reduce or reuse something, chances are that you can recycle it in Tucson.

  • Recycle common items (i.e., paper, plastic, metal) at home or on-campus; for less common items, check out where you can recycle them throughout Tucson at Tucson Clean and Beautiful's Recycling Directory.

  • Notice the items you cannot recycle and remember this when shopping. Are there alternatives you could buy that could be recycled? Farmer's markets are a great place to buy products that are minimally packaged or for which you can bring your own container.

  • Sign up with TerraCycling©.

  • If your workplace does not have recycling, bring it to the attention of your boss. Many businesses have recycling initiatives offered in their waste contracts, but don't know it. If that does not apply to your company, it is still useful to bring awareness to the issue of recycling. The lack of recycling may not necessarily be due to apathy, but the company's unawareness that recycling implementation is something its employees care about.

  • If you live on campus, help to educate your neighbors about what can and can’t be recycled or talk to your RA about how to make your community more sustainable: see the university's Housing and Residential Life sustainability resources for more information.

Sometimes it's hard to find another use for an item. It can also be a hassle to keep something that you just don't want, such as that lumpy sweater your Aunt Rowena knitted for you in eighth grade. Items like this can always be donated to a local charity or traded in at a secondhand store.

Donate to any of the charities around town, including:

Or sell your used clothing and appliances at places such as:

From whence the banana peel came, so shall it return... with your help! Composting your plant-based foods (no meat, dairy or fats, please) works to return nutrients to the soil and provide an organic alternative to chemical fertilizers for growers. It also helps to ease high levels of methane emissions from food waste in our landfills.

  • Sign up for the  Compost Cats bucket program by filling out the interest form! Once an interest form is submitted, a Compost Cat will contact you via email with a set up instructions. 

    • Founded in 2020, The UArizona Compost Bucket Program is a food scrap collection and composting program that serves campus and community members. Bucket Program participants collect their household food scraps in a bucket provided by Compost Cats, then bring them to the UArizona Community Garden once per week, or biweekly. The food waste is then turned into compost, a soil amendment made of nutrient-rich organic material, by our Student Compost Specialists. This valuable substance, fondly called “black gold” by farmers, can promote soil health and plant growth. 

    • Composting household food waste is a great way for individuals to reduce their environmental impact and mitigate climate change. Additionally, the finished compost can be used to alleviate food insecurity in our community by helping local gardens grow more fresh produce. Since Compost Cats launched the program in the Fall of 2020, we have diverted more than 12,000 pounds of food scraps from the landfill! Thanks to our participants, we now also have high-quality compost to donate to local community projects. 

  • If you live off campus, you can start your own composting operation in your yard (if you have a landlord, check in with them first to make sure it's ok).

  • Off campus residents can also sign up with Scraps on Scraps for biweekly pick-ups ($23/month).

  • If you are helping with any large on or off-campus event with food, ask them about signing up for commercial composting with the City of Tucson and the UA Compost Cats.

The best solution however, is to try to reduce the amount of excess food that you buy and end up throwing away!