As an urban institution that is deeply engaged in the community, Temple University's commitment to sustainability can have a profound impact on the health and quality of life of a large and diverse population.

Sustainability Efforts

Climate Action Plan

In 2019, Temple adopted its second CLIMATE ACTION PLAN, which sets forth annual greenhouse gas reduction targets, and identifies measurable strategies for achieving those reductions.

Green Buildings

In an effort to meet the University’s Climate Commitment and its energy conservation goals, the University is dedicated to improving the efficiency of its existing building stock and greening the construction of its new facilities.

To date, the university has designed and constructed five buildings to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, including the Architecture Building, Pearson and McGonigle Halls, Morgan Hall, the Montgomery Avenue Parking Garage, and the Medical Education and Research Building, which is the University’s first LEED certified project. For more information on these projects, visit the Office of Sustainability's Green Buildings page. 

Recycling & Waste Minimization

Temple University established its recycling program in 1989. Since its inception, the program has expanded the depth and breadth of the materials that can be recycled. The university has also explored ways to reduce the waste generated. Between 2006 and 2012, the University has diverted approximately 22,357,380 pounds of material from entering the waste stream. In 2013, the University expanded its campus-wide recycling program to include:

  • Mixed paper
  • Cardboard
  • Mixed Plastics (Plastics #1-7)
  • Aluminum cans
  • Glass bottles

Temple divides its recycling materials into three categories: core materials, secondary materials and special materials. Core materials include mixed paper, cardboard, and aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers. Secondary materials are primarily organic waste and include food waste, fryer oil, leaves and tree limbs and brush. Special materials encompass a broad range of items, including recycled electronics, glass from Tyler’s glass blowing studio, pallets, furniture and chemical waste.

Temple’s existing programs vary in their scope. While some programs may be universally available at Temple and are operated by the University, other programs are patchwork efforts that are run by student groups or interested staff/faculty. 

The Office of Sustainability maintains an inventory of recycling and waste minimization efforts at Temple.  For more information on the university’s material resource stream, check out the University’s annual recycling and trash report.

Energy, Water and Stormwater

Philadelphia’s sewage and stormwater pipes are combined in a common collection system.  This has prompted the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) to take a unique, rate-based approach to stormwater management designed to prevent the overflow of untreated sewage into the Delaware River. Temple is an active partner with the PWD in developing, demonstrating and testing innovative stormwater management practices on Main Campus and in the surrounding neighborhood. 

For more information about campus-wide sustainability initiatives including upcoming events, visit the Office of Sustainability website. 


Rebecca Collins, Director of Sustainability