The nature of the Empire State College lends itself to low energy use and efficient use of natural resources. Unlike a traditional college with dorms, lecture halls and dining facilities, Empire State College has minimal infrastructure that requires energy. Through careful attention to detail and planning, the college saved $252,566 (40 percent) in electricity and $28,824 (35 percent) in natural gas between 2011 and 2013; use decreased by 13% and 35%, respectively.


From green cleaning to integrated pest management on the lawns, the college has a commitment to achieving environmental responsibility through operations of facilities.


Transportation is the source of the largest percentage of SUNY Empire State College’s carbon footprint. The college encourages carpooling and alternative means of transportation. At the Coordinating Center, bike racks have been installed at all of the facilities and hybrid vehicles are available to borrow for college business travel. Amtrak train tickets can be purchased from the business office and many of the college’s centers and units are located within a quarter-mile of a bus stop. The college offers video conferencing for employees and a variety of distance learning tools to students free of charge.

Waste and Recycling

The 2015 diversion rate for the Coordinating Center of Empire State College was 60 percent, up from 57 percent in 2014. The diversion rate is the ratio of waste that is recycled compared to waste that is sent to the landfill. The college’s diversion rate is good compared to other colleges and universities. Electronic waste, shredded confidential papers, cardboard from the bookstore and all single-stream recycling is counted in the recycled materials

SUNY Empire State College strives to reduce, reuse and recycle. Here are a few highlights from the waste and recycling program:

  • Between 2010 and 2013, the college reduced the amount of solid waste disposed by 28 percent.
  • Recycling opportunities are now available at every major center across the state.
  • 100 percent of the copy paper and janitorial paper purchased by Empire State College is made from recycled paper.
  • Reusable electronics are sent to the New York State Office of General Services to be reused. Electronics that are not working are sent to a local New York state recycler.
  • At the college’s Central New York Center in Syracuse, coffee grinds are composted at the center’s educational garden.

Got a question about what to recycle at home and at work? We made a video answering all your questions.