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Waste Warriors

The Surplus Store & Recycling Center's (SSRC) Waste Warriors program cultivates waste reduction and the utilization of waste as a resource by training and empowering the MSU community to promote these practices among their peers. Designed to reduce the amount of waste disposed of on campus, the program builds knowledge and leadership by empowering individuals who are passionate about working with others and promoting action to champion goals outlined in the SSRC strategic plan.

The Waste Warriors program is the primary education tool supporting the SSRC mission to manage MSU's waste as a resource through an integrated system of reuse, recycling, collaboration, and education. The program seeks to engage with the MSU community to foster waste related behavior change. It is our belief that promoting a zero-waste lifestyle, through meeting people where they are, will impact long-term waste reduction on campus.

Through the Waste Warrior program, we seek to:

  • Help the MSU community gain a better understanding of waste and how their behaviors can impact change.
  • Think critically about the problems of improving the human condition equitably in this and future generations, while conserving environmental systems necessary to support healthy and vibrant societies.
  • Make resources promoting waste prevention and reduction at MSU more accessible.
  • Solve problems by applying sustainability concepts and principles.
  • Develop a peer education system and structure that allows Waste Warriors to learn, teach, and lead by:
    • Fostering peer education about how certain choices affect their environments, including natural resources, finances, and their communities.
    • Developing leaders that can effectively educate others and be proactive agents of change.
    • Empowering constituents to make sustainable decisions through peer education and programming.
    • Providing the tools and resources so Waste Warriors can communicate effectively to raise awareness, increase understanding and motivate action for sustainability,
    • Encouraging Waste Warriors to collaborate with others, working with and leading groups to advance shared waste reduction goals.


Improving Our Impact 

MSU generates over 10 million pounds* of general building waste annually from offices, labs and residence halls. Currently we divert roughly half of that away from the landfill through reuse, recycling, and organics waste management techniques including vermicomposting and anaerobic digestion. However, waste sort data shows that the majority the landfill-bound waste could be put to better use with adequate recycling education, increased organic waste diversion, and a healthy dollop of Spartans will!

(*Note, this figure does not account for other types of waste such as that associated with construction and demotion. For more data, see Our Impact.)

By 2024, we aim to increase the campus diversion rate from 50% to 70%. We know this sounds like a heavy lift, but we've been making great strides for years.

Since 1987, when the campus recycling program began, MSU has decreased its yearly landfill totals by 55% and the annual amount of landfill material produced per student has decreased by 66%. Over the years 2016-2020, on-campus trash per person/per day dropped over 35%. 

To reach our goal of 70% landfill diversion by 2024, we’re recruiting Waste Warriors – MSU faculty and staff who pledge to take a more active role in managing campus waste as a resource. Any staff or faculty member can sign up to be a Waste Warrior.

Let's do this! 


Join the Waste Warriors! 

MSU Extension staff, please sign up for the Extension Edition via this form

All other MSU staff and faculty, please sign up by filling out this brief intake questionnaire


As a Waste Warrior...

  • You gain a better understanding of how to utilize all the services SSRC currently offers.
    • Receive help setting up and improving your recycling stations
    • Opt for a Waste Reduction Consultation, in which we’ll tour your office and provide suggestions on how you could minimize waste
  • You are the first to hear about new services as we continue to expand.
    • Styrofoam and glass collection will be expanding to select buildings that currently don’t have it
    • In the future, we hope to offer food waste/compost collection to offices
  • You are invited to free events, including:
    • monthly Town Halls
    • twice-a-month Coffee Chats
    • facility tours
    • building waste sorts
    • upcycling and zero-waste lifestyle workshops
    • movie screenings and other events
  • You stay up in the loop via our monthly newsletter that offers tips, info and updates related to managing waste as a resource. (past issues)
  • You are welcome to invite SSRC to host a presentation or discussion for a class or staff meeting
  • You become an ally to the Surplus Store & Recycling Center, helping us improve recycling and waste reduction at the building level.
  • You have opportunities to help shape the strategic direction of the Surplus Store & Recycling Center’s future.

By becoming a Waste Warrior, you join a group of like-minded staff and faculty from across campus—who each pledge to be part of the solution that will lead MSU down the path towards zero waste. We can increase waste diversion and improve our impact!


For more information contact our education coordinator   

Katie Deska - MSU Surplus & Recycling Education Coordinator -