Sustainable Solutions

Grounds Services has won the President’s Award for Sustainability for each one of these programs.  

Compost Cycle

The landscape at the Tempe campus generates an average of 8 tons brush, leaves, tree limbs etc.per month. Grounds Services chips this green waste and delivers it to Singh Farm to be composted in giant windrows. The cycle is completed when Grounds Services picks up a weekly load of the finished compost and applies it to the campus lawns, flower beds, shrubs and trees.


The majority of the diesel lawn and garden equipment the ASU Grounds crew uses now runs onstraight B99 fuel.  B99 consists of 99 percent biodiesel that is mixed with only one percent petroleum diesel fuel. Brown Evans Distributing Company transports the biodiesel to the Tempe campus and fills the 1,000-gallon tank, located in the parking lot of the Material Services Building. ASU’s food services provider, ARAMARK, provides the used vegetable cooking oil waste that is converted to biodiesel fuel by REV Biodiesel.

Grounds for Grounds

In February 2012, Facilities Management Grounds Services in conjunction with Aramark, the Facilities Management Recycling Program, and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University introduced the “Grounds for Grounds” program to ASU. The program diverts Tempe campus’ used espresso and coffee grounds from the landfill and puts them to use as a natural fertilizer and soil amendment. It also helps the university economically and socially by efficiently using a waste product as a valuable resource while actively engaging participants in a sustainable future. 
Presently the collection averages 500 pounds weekly, varying based on the time of year. This equates to a yearly savings of approximately $900 in tipping fees and up to $10,000 in fertilizer costs.  The program is the first in food waste recycling on campus and another step forward in the university’s Zero Waste goal.

Central Plant & Office Water Capture Projects

Facilities Management Central Plant and Grounds Services teams received $5,000 seed money from University Sustainability Practices to design, fund, construct and then re-use Reverse Osmosis reject water from the Central Plant. The 13,500 gallons of reject water produced daily used to flow down the drain into the sewer system. The water is now piped to a holding tank and then used by Grounds Services on campus for power washing and cleaning streets and malls or pumped by the Central Plant up to the cooling towers for the campus chillers. 

During the first partial year of operation the departments saved 1,483,796 gallons of water that previously would have been purchased for those operations. Annual savings of more than 4 million gallons of water should now be realized. The entire cost of design and construction hasbeen paid back in savings within the first ten months of operation.

Campus Harvest

The two largest crops on campus are the Seville sour oranges and dates from the date palms. Both these programs rely on Arboretum volunteers to pick the oranges and pack the dates.  Overten thousand pounds of sour oranges are harvested each February and used by Aramark chefs incampus dining halls recipes. In October fresh dates are made into delicious dishes by Aramark chefs at the ASU Farmers Market and in campus dining halls.