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Resource Conservation

Our Vision

Our vision is to adopt sustainable procurement practices for materials, food, and services and take a comprehensive approach to conserving resources, and reducing and managing waste.

A significant portion of Northwestern’s daily operations involves the purchase and consumption of goods and the production of waste. Leveraging the University’s purchasing power, we can choose environmentally preferable products and services, including locally and sustainably sourced food, and can prioritize waste prevention, reuse, recycling, and composting over landfill disposal.

The Resource Conservation Working Group is the hub for sustainability efforts involving University purchasing and waste reduction and management.

To learn more about our Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (ISWMP) click here.

Key Focus Areas

  • Waste reduction and landfill diversion rates
  • Rates of reuse, recycling, and composting
  • Sustainable procurement practices
  • Food sources and partnerships with food service providers

Key Objectives

Waste Reduction

  • 3.1 Increase landfill diversion rate to 50 percent of total waste generated by 2020.
  • 3.2 Develop systematic, centralized waste- minimization guidelines—including solid, universal, hazardous, and electronic waste—by 2017.
  • 3.3 Establish a University surplus program by 2021

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

  • 3.4 Establish procurement guidelines effective as of 2017 that prioritize the purchase of durable, reusable, recyclable, compostable, and environmentally conscious goods and services.
  • 3.5 Increase the purchase of environmentally preferable goods and services by 10 percent (from 2018 baseline) by 2021.
  • 3.6 Increase recycled content of paper purchased to 40 percent postconsumer content by 2021 and 60 percent by 2030.
  • 3.7 Support Northwestern’s Business Diversity Strategy, with a focus on increasing partnerships with diverse businesses year over year.

Sustainable Food

  • 3.8 Participate in the Real Food Challenge to achieve a 20 percent level of “real food” on campus by 2020.
  • 3.9 Increase the use of sustainable food served in University dining facilities to 20 percent (from 2018 baseline) of total food purchases by 2021.
  • 3.10 Achieve Green Restaurant Certification for all dining halls by 2018.

Download the Resource Conservation section of the Implementation Roadmap