Going full circle

Circular resource system

Historically, the economic system has been designed around a linear extraction, processing, manufacturing, consumption and disposal path. There is no waste in nature, just a circular process. This is a paradigm shift, requiring a change in how our economic system produces, assembles, sells and uses products in order to minimize waste and maximize reuse value.

Through zero waste efforts, ASU is helping the local and global transition to a circular resource system. At ASU, we strive to create a system to achieve the highest reuse value, including economic, social and environmental values, for diverted resources.


  • Achieve 30% aversion by fiscal year 2025.
  • Achieve 90% diversion by fiscal year 2025.
  • Annually increase the value of diverted materials in the hierarchy of reuse.
  • Annually improve the aversion and re-circulation characteristics of products and services purchased.
  • Annually reduce landfill-destined single-use plastics to prevent items from ending up in our oceans and natural waterways. 

Tracking waste and recycling at ASU

ASU Zero Waste’s policy is to measure all university waste sent to the landfill, recycled or otherwise diverted. Major streams tracked include trash, commingled recycling, food waste, green waste and yard waste. ASU has tracked waste since fiscal year 2007, and our most recent data has been published through fiscal year 2022.

Read about how ASU tracks waste across the whole university, our diversion progress and Zero Waste programs in ASU's Zero Waste Annual Report.

Going full circle

ASU is committed to going full circle. Check out the innovative ways we are closing the loop.


Zero Waste solutions

Plastic reduction

Nearly 14% of the waste produced at ASU is single-use plastics. Minimizing, and eventually eliminating, single-use plastics is a key strategy in reaching ASU’s circular resource system goal of 90% diversion and 30% aversion by 2025.

Reducing single-use plastics will reduce materials that may become litter. In addition to being unsightly, this litter carries an environmental cost as it ends up in our natural areas and waterways.

ASU is committed to navigating the complexities of supply chains and consumer behavior in pursuit of becoming a more sustainable university. Strategic partnerships with ASU’s suppliers will be a key step in the elimination of single-use plastics.


ASU’s sustainable purchasing policies encourage the transition to a circular resource system by promoting:

  • Bio-based products.
  • Biodegradable and compostable products.
  • Forest Stewardship Council-certified or salvaged wood.
  • Packaging take-back programs.
  • Recycled content products.
  • Recyclable packaging.
  • Reusable and durable products.

ASU has shifted almost entirely to recycled-content paper since 2007 while also dramatically reducing paper purchases despite increased growth in campus population. ASU has switched to 100% recycled paper in all public copy machines and automatically print double-sided with Canon.