Revamping Recycling at the Center for the Arts


on Ƶ’s Fairfax Campus has revamped its zero-waste infrastructure, thanks to the support of University Sustainability's.

Sleek new waste and recycling stations at the performing arts venue will improve Mason’s waste diversion rate, helping to reach Mason's goal of diverting at least 90% of waste from the trash.

Digital event programs are readily available for patrons at the Center for the Arts (CFA), but the need for paper programs and their subsequent recycling still exists. Maura Glascock, CFA production coordinator, recognized the potential for increased waste diversion and spearheaded the effort to enhance the zero-waste infrastructure.

Photo of Ƶ staff members next to the newly installed recycling bins in the Center for the Arts lobby
Photo by Mason Facilities

Glascock applied for funding through the Patriot Green Fund and awarded $17,500 in May 2023 toward the acquisition of new waste stations.

The Patriot Green Fund is a $100,000-per-year sustainability fund provided by Mason Facilities to make Mason’s campuses more sustainable through infrastructure improvements and student research projects. Funding decisions are made by the Patriot Green Fund Committee, which includes students, faculty, and staff.

The Center for the Arts team collaborated with staff from University Sustainability—Colleen Regan, zero waste specialist, and Amber Saxton, program manager for campus efficiency—to ensure the project was a success. They also sought the expertise of Kevin Brim, supervisor for recycling and waste management with Facilities Management.

The group identified the most effective layout for recycling and trash stations, ensuring proper lid openings and other design standards were included to discourage contamination. The team also prioritized the aesthetics of the design and selected stainless steel bins, ensuring their recyclability at the end of their long lifespan, which is estimated to be 20+ years.

“CFA’s installation aligns with current efforts to improve zero-waste design standards and guidelines across the university,” Regan said. “Co-locating waste streams and standardizing the appearance of bins through consistent labeling and color coding are all key design improvements for increasing access to recycling.”

Individuals with innovative ideas to further enhance sustainability at Mason are encouraged to apply for funding through the.