UNC-Chapel Hill works to reduce waste to landfills by first limiting the amount of waste brought on to campus, and then by recycling and composting waste that leaves the campus. This requires practicing campus-wide sustainable materials management and encouraging individual behavior change.

In 2016, 47 percent of waste was diverted from the landfill. Three Zeros partners with several campus departments to accomplish this goal, including Carolina Dining Services and the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling.