Campus-Wide Zero Waste Assessment & Strategic Vision

The campus-wide zero waste assessment (Atlas) was conducted by Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN) in collaboration with the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives during the 2019-2020 academic year.  PLAN staff worked with Zilkha Center Zero Waste Interns Lauren Lynch ’23 and Coco Rhum ’23 to interview stakeholders in departments across campus to assess the college’s current approach to waste, materials management, and purchasing – a departure from and a step beyond the previous waste reduction and diversion approach.  Additionally, the timing of this assessment aligned well with campus-wide strategic planning conversations.  As the sustainability working group identified in their recommendations, the college needs to improve measurement of what we are doing – in order to a) set baselines so that we can b) set realistic, bold goals.  The Atlas Zero Waste assessment is part of that crucial baseline setting. 

Williams College Atlas Zero Waste Assessment Report – Spring 2020

Williams College Zero Waste Strategic Vision – Spring 2021

In mid-May 2020, Lauren, Coco, and PLAN Co-Founder Alex Freid gave a virtual presentation about the Atlas methodology, Williams-specific findings, and laid the groundwork for collaborative campus problem-solving and implementation starting in the fall. To learn more, check out the slides from and recording of that presentation as well as the report.

To view a recording of the presentation, click on the image above. 

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Zilkha Center worked with campus partners and PLAN to create a Zero Waste Strategic Vision using both the Atlas waste assessment and the waste, materials management, and procurement recommendations parts of the Responsible Consumption (p. 37) section of the Sustainability Strategic Plan report.  ZW Interns Lauren Lynch ’23 and Rika Nakato ’24 researched ZW best practices at other institutions around the country and worked with campus stakeholders to understand the current opportunities and barriers.  During the spring semester, they detailed out the steps required to turn the high level plan into an actionable and living document.

During the 2021-2022 academic year, the Zilkha Center will continue to work with campus stakeholders to draft the Zero Waste Action Plan, (ZWAP) which continues to refine the goals and vision from last year and make them more specific and actionable.


Email the Zilkha Center with any questions, concerns, or suggestions.

For more information about waste at the college, visit our Zero Waste page.

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