Sustainability at Brooklyn College

With a variety of resources and faculty experts, Brooklyn College is equipped to play an important role in increasing sustainability efforts among ourselves and to prepare you for the challenges and opportunities in creating a sustainable New York City.

Through research, curriculum development, upgrades to our physical plant, and numerous student initiatives, we seek to be a sustainable institution and to educate you to create a sustainable future.

Sustainability refers to the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland, World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). To achieve sustainability, we must balance environmental protection, economic growth, and social well-being, which can often conflict with each other. Sustainable processes aim to minimize environmental impacts, create economic benefits, and improve social equity, fostering a more resilient and equitable society for present and future generations.

Be Sustainable On-Campus

Foam Ban

Did you know? In 2020, New York State adopted the nation’s strongest statewide ban of expanded polystyrene, single-use foam food and beverage containers, and polystyrene loose-fill packing materials. Under the foam ban, which went into effect on January 1, 2022, no food service provider or store will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute disposable food containers that have polystyrene.

Exemptions apply to certain conditions. Visit New York State Polystyrene Foam Ban for more information, and e-mail us if you have any questions.

Bottle Filling Stations

In buildings throughout campus, you’ll find bottle-filling stations. These stations encourage use of reusable water bottles, such as stainless steel bottles, in an effort to drastically decrease the number of single-use plastic bottles purchased at stores.

Battery Recycling Comes on Campus

Alkaline and rechargeable batteries can be dropped off in the recycling tubes on the first floor of most buildings across campus. Call EHS at extension 4268 for pickups of larger batteries.

Mission Statement

The mission of Brooklyn College’s sustainability initiative is to create a culture of sustainability throughout the entire campus community. We will do this by raising awareness of, engagement in, and commitment to reducing our carbon footprint through campus-based education, research, operations, and community-based collaboration and service. Our sustainability planning will take special recognition of the constraints, opportunities, and responsibilities that come with our urban location in one of the most densely populated cities in the United States.

For example, we formed a Campus Sustainability Task Force in 2008 that released an initial 10-year campus sustainability plan in 2010 with the intention of building sustainability into campus operations and academic programs. Much has been accomplished since then, including the launching of an Urban Sustainability undergraduate program and the hiring of a dedicated full-time sustainability coordinator.

Our mission has since expanded to acknowledge the new realities presented by extreme weather events and environmental impacts, and to align with recent state and local legislation to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The following eight focus areas guide these efforts:

  • Campus Operations
  • Environmental Justice
  • Engagement
  • Caron Neutrality/Net-zero Carbon Emissions
  • Waste Minimization
  • Academics and Research
  • Smart Operations/Growth
  • Food and Nutrition

Contact Us

For general inquiries or comments about the colleges sustainability program, e-mail us.

Carrie Sadovnik
Director, Environmental Health and Safety
Chair, Brooklyn College Sustainability Council

Stalin Espinal
Sustainability Coordinator


The Princeton Review’s Green Colleges

Brooklyn College makes the list of The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2023 Edition. Brooklyn College is also recognized in The Princeton Review’s Best 388 Colleges for 2023.

The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges presents information on each school’s use of renewable energy, its recycling and conservation programs, the availability of environmental studies in academic offerings, and career guidance for green jobs. The Princeton Review is an education services company known for its tutoring, test-prep, books, and other student resources. Headquartered in New York City, it is not affiliated with Princeton University.


Tracking our performance on sustainability-related metrics helps us recalibrate to make improvements, inspire accountability and new opportunities, and engage the campus and prospective students.

This year, Campus Sustainability, with assistance from our on campus partners, submitted the first Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report, from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Brooklyn College earned a “Reporter” designation, creating a baseline for future submissions.

Brooklyn. All in.