We aim to confront and dissolve the stigma against interacting with and handling waste. We are committed to observing garbage, both through quantitative and qualitative methods, and sharing our findings with each other and with the other members of this campus, as a way of increasing the accountability of the students, faculty, and staff who rely on our waste system.

Resource Recovery

Every weekend student waste monitors find valuable resources in our waste streams. To apply to be a waste monitor, send your résumé to lnichols@carleton.edu


We observe landfill receptacles in residence halls every Saturday and Sunday morning, between 9am-12pm, to determine the degree to which landfill receptacles are “cross-contaminated” with recyclable and compostable waste items. Our data also provide insight as to which types of waste items constitute common contaminants, i.e. which types of compostable and recyclable waste items are most commonly placed in the landfill.

We are supported by the Carleton Custodial Services Department to conduct this research.



The comprehensive guide to composting and recycling at Carleton

The comprehensive waste guide has been posted in over 60 locations across campus, and distributed to over 600 students. See the link to view the guide and download it for printing. It is available in three different printable formats.

Waste-sorting games and education

Contact us at sustainability@carleton.edu if you are interested in producing this game on your floor, or during an event. We have hosted our game at New Student Week Nolympics since 2016, reaching close to 500 students during each event.

We are also able to make educational presentations to departments, staff meetings, and student leaders. Please email sustainability@carleton.edu to schedule a presentation.

Waste patrol

We implement strategies for reducing cross contamination at highly attended campus events, including Commencement, Spring Concert, and Rotblatt.