Quinnipiac University
Students look at shirts on a table at an outdoor flea market on the Quad

Sustainability and Stewardship

Sustainable Living Guide

Students are able to make sustainable lifestyle choices that promote positive change by reducing waste and recycling. Quinnipiac offers solutions for students who are looking to implement green alternatives.

Reducing Waste

Quinnipiac is currently monitoring waste, electricity, water and recycling across the three campuses, with the goal of reducing university output. Quinnipiac is a member of AASHE STARS, a global sustainability standard created by and for higher education. Gathering usage data from campus for our STARS reports helps the university track environmental baselines, and targets and compares progress with other universities. These sustainability reports are open to the public.

Find Quinnipiac's STARS report here

Students can follow these waste reduction tips:

  1. Turn lights off when you leave your dorm or shared common rooms

  2. Keep showers short and turn off the tap while you brush your teeth

  3. Wash full loads of clothing on cold because 90% of the energy used by washing machines is for heating the water

  4. Print documents only when necessary

The United States discards more food than any other country, wasting approximately 30-40% of its food supply. College campuses waste 22 million pounds of food annually. Landfills are composed primarily of food waste and when rotting food waste is trapped without oxygen, methane is produced which is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States.

Students can make an effort to avoid throwing away food by:

  1. Using reusable plates, utensils and to-go containers in the dining halls

  2. Eating from the plant-based station in the dining hall as often as possible (recommended three days per week)

  3. Refilling your water bottle instead of using plastic bottles at one of the many touchless stations around our three campuses

  4. Using washable food containers that can be reused rather than disposable to-go containers

  5. Buying locally sourced foods from local farmer's markets or farms

  6. Avoiding buying too much food and wasting un-eaten food

  7. When picking up food, use re-usable bags rather than plastic bags

Check out some local restaurants that use sustainable food practices:

  • Claire's Corner Copia (New Haven) - vegetarian

  • CitySeed Farmer's Markets (Downtown New Haven and Wooster Square)

  • Harvest (New Haven) - American restaurant serving local and organic food

  • Heirloom (New Haven) - Farm-to-table restaurant featuring menu items from local sources

  • Fresh Greens and Proteins (Hamden) - Fast casual salads, bowls, smoothies and wraps

  • Junzi (New Haven) - Chinese-American cuisine with several seasonal vegetable-focuses options

Fast fashion refers to a design, manufacturing and marketing method that rapidly provides high volumes of clothing. While fast fashion produces clothes at a low cost for consumers, it comes at a high cost for the environment. The fashion industry uses an unsustainably large amount of water. For example, the World Wildlife Fund estimates that it takes 2,700 liters of water to produce just one cotton shirt — enough water to sustain one person for 900 days. Fast fashion is designed to keep up with rapidly changing trends, resulting in poorly made clothing that often ends up discarded in landfills, producing 92 million tons of textile waste each year.

Avoid purchasing fast fashion by thrifting clothes. Buying second-hand clothes extends their lifetime, preventing clothing from entering directly into landfills. Essentially, thrifting applies the principle of "reduce, reuse, recycle" to clothing.

Check out some local thrift stores near Hamden:

  • Goodwill

    • 2369 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, CT 06514

    • 935 S Main St., Cheshire, CT 06140

    • 1145 N Colony Rd., Wallingford, CT 06492

  • Uptown Consignment

    • 4137 Whitney Ave., Hamden, CT 06518

  • Plato's Closet

    • 2335 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, CT 06514

In the United States, transportation produces the most greenhouse gas emissions of any sector. More than half of the transport emissions come from passenger cars, pickup trucks and minivans. Furthermore, parking is limited at Quinnipiac.

Before getting in the car, ask yourself, "Do I need to drive there?"

Here are a few tips to reduce the use of cars on campus:

  1. Take advantage of Quinnipiac's free shuttle service that connects you to all three campuses, as well as shopping and dining in Hamden and North Haven, and downtown and the train station in New Haven.

    See the full shuttle schedule and down the app to track the shuttles

  2. Bikes and scooters are a green way to get around (don't forget to wear a helmet).

  3. Try to arrange carpooling with friends and neighbors to reduce transit emissions and the number of cars on campus.

  4. The Recreation and Wellness Center offers priority charging stations for electric vehicles.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Students walking across the quad with the sidewalk lined with garbage bags

Your guide to recycling

On average, every person produces over five pounds of solid waste each day — and only about one pound gets recycled. The rest, about four pounds, gets thrown away!

Recycling, while great, is still the third choice under the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle concept. Try to reduce or reuse items first, before considering recycling. If you purchase food in a plastic container, can you reuse the container for other items? Can you use a refillable water bottle rather than purchasing single-use plastic ones and recycling them? Try repairing items that are damaged instead of throwing them away. With plastics, try to avoid using or buying plastics at all when you can. Avoid buying disposable items whenever possible.

Recycling Tips
  • In most cities and towns, plastics #1, 2 and 5 are good to go in the bin

  • Crush plastic bottles and keep the caps on when recycling but caps must be thrown away

  • Rinse plastic that has food or residue on it before recycling

  • Plastic utensils are not recyclable yet plastic bags can be recycled at most grocery stores

  • Plastic straws are not recyclable

  • Milk and juice cartons are recyclable

  • Paper cups for coffee are not recyclable, but the lid and sleeve are recyclable

  • Greasy pizza boxes are not recyclable, but clean boxes are recyclable

  • Paper towels, napkins and plates are not recyclable

  • Magazines and clean tinfoil are recyclable but don’t crush the tin foil into a small ball

  • Shredded paper is not recyclable

Earning Money for Recyclables

Connecticut is one of 11 "bottle bill" states in the United States. You can bring in drinking containers to select redemption centers, such as at grocery stores, and receive 5 cents per container.

The bottle bill applies to the following beverage containers:

  • Carbonated Beverages such as beer or other malt beverages, hard seltzer, hard cider and mineral waters, soda water and similar carbonated soft drinks;

  • Noncarbonated beverages such as any water (including flavored water), plant or nutritionally enhanced water, juice, juice drinks, tea, coffee, kombucha, plant infused drink, sports or energy drink and any beverage that is identified as such through the use of letters, words or symbols on such beverage’s product label.

In June 2021, Governor Ned Lamont updated Connecticut’s Bottle Bill in which the state will accept more types of containers in its bottle return system starting in January 2023 and will double its refund value from 5 to 10 cents starting January 2024.

The Connecticut government website outlines the full rules of the program, and also maintains a list of redemption locations. Visit the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website

Sustainability-Focused Majors

Explore more

Our Approach to Sustainability

We envision a Quinnipiac that is a model for sustainability in Southern New England, building its practices and leveraging its campuses to promote a healthy regional ecosystem, and to engage in practices that equip current and future students, faculty and staff to embody sustainable practices in their personal and professional lives, equipping them to thrive in a world increasingly influenced and affected by environmental disruption.

Learn more about our approach to sustainability

Students for Environmental Action

Students for Environmental Action (SEA) is a club committed to promoting environmental stewardship at Quinnipiac and in the broader community. Past events include World Environment Health Day and fundraising for the Coral Sea Alliance. If you are interested in participating in sustainability initiatives around campus with a group of like-minded environmentalists, consider joining SEA. 

Learn more about SEA

Albert Schweitzer Institute

The Albert Schweitzer Institute conducts programs that link education, ethics and voluntarism for the sake of creating a more peaceful and sustainable world. A dynamic presence at Quinnipiac, the institute has drawn notable humanitarians both to campus and to its board, and gives students of all majors opportunities to make a positive impact on local and global communities.

Learn how to get involved with ASI

Questions or comments

We'd love to hear your feedback or suggestions. Contact us at qusustainability@qu.edu