Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.79
Liaison Courtney Stoner
Submission Date March 6, 2020

STARS v2.2

American University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.97 / 8.00 Tyler Orton
Zero Waste Manager
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 390.56 Tons 823.50 Tons
Materials composted 228.42 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 129.64 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,189.73 Tons 1,096.35 Tons
Total waste generated 1,938.35 Tons 1,919.85 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:
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Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2018 June 30, 2019
Baseline Period Jan. 1, 2005 Dec. 31, 2005

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:

The waste generation baseline was adopted in calendar year 2005 and was chosen based on the data available.

Composting did not become widespread on campus until 2017.

Zero waste policy was adopted in 2010 and last updated in 2015. https://www.american.edu/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=2011196


Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 4,140 3,200
Number of employees resident on-site 14 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 13,452 10,000
Full-time equivalent of employees 2,910 2,500
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 1,057 0
Weighted campus users 12,517.25 10,175

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.15 Tons 0.19 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:
17.93

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:
38.62

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):
38.62

In the waste figures reported above, has the institution recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold the following materials?:
Yes or No
Paper, plastics, glass, metals, and other recyclable containers Yes
Food Yes
Cooking oil Yes
Plant materials Yes
Animal bedding No
White goods (i.e. appliances) Yes
Electronics Yes
Laboratory equipment Yes
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires Yes
Other (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of other materials the institution has recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold:

Clothing, vehicle batteries, lamps, alkaline batteries


Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year:
---

Does the institution use single stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
Yes

Does the institution use dual stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
No

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
No

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:
---

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:

Our waste on campus is very actively managed. We have a 6 person crew who's primary role is to ensure that the recycling on campus is managed appropriately, with the lowest levels of contamination possible. Each staff member is trained on how to spot contaminated bags of recycling or compost and is empowered to "reject" bags to ensure entire loads are not rejected. Our Zero Waste Manager reviews all weight tickets from our waste haulers to ensure that they are taking the materials to the appropriate processing facility and that the facilities are in line with our Zero Waste Goals.


A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:

Every waste, recycling, and composting bin on campus has detailed signage on what belongs on the bin as well as restrictive lids to help reduce contamination. The Student Sustainability Educators as well as interns from Zero Waste work together on their fellow students. Examples are initiatives such as pledge drives, zero waste events, participating in RecycleMania Gameday Challenge, or competitions between dorms.


A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:

American University works with multiple environmental science labs per year to do waste audits on campus. This data is used to assess contamination rates and determine additional areas for improvement. Our Zero Waste Manager also tracks all waste produced by the university in a digital tracking system weekly to make sure all waste streams are performing appropriately.


A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

The sustainable purchasing policy addresses ways to prevent waste and overall consumption.

https://www.american.edu/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=2010993

AU’s Zero Waste Policy calls for the university to strive for zero waste sent to landfills and incineration through refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost efforts. Specifically, the policy calls out source reduction.

https://www.american.edu/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=2011196


A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

American University collects and stores surplus furniture, which is redistributed to other campus users. When this material is too much to keep in storage, it is shipped to a facility where the items are sold at a low cost to community members. There is no formal reuse program in place for office supplies.


A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:
---

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:

Black and white printing is $0.10 per page and color printing is $1.00 per page. Double sided printing is the default in the library and computer labs on campus.


A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials available online by default rather than printing them:

To reduce the amount of paper used, New Student Programs has eliminated the thousands of informational fliers it previously distributed to freshmen in favor of a digital format. The campus directory is available online and campus members may opt not to choose not to receive a print copy of the annual update.


A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

Facilities Management, Office of Sustainability, and Housing and Dining coordinate a move-out program in the residence halls each spring. Clothes, shoes, unopened food, unused toiletries, household items, electronics, textbooks and more are collected, tested, cleaned, and sorted to be sold or donated after student move-out. In the past, we have managed to collect 4 (30yd) pods worth of move-out items. 2 of these pods (6,930 pounds) filled with clothes, shoes, and textiles were sold, donated, or recycled off-campus. In the fall, the Project Move-In sale was implemented where parents and incoming students bought these reusable items for a lower cost and helped divert a significant amount of waste from landfills. Over $5,000 was raised and contributed to the Student Zero Waste Club. This money was used to fund student scholarships for conferences.


A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:

Members of the AU Student Zero Waste Club started a move-out program in the residence halls each spring and a followup move-in program in the fall. Clothes, shoes, unopened food, unused toiletries, household items, electronics, textbooks and more are collected, tested, cleaned, and sorted to be sold or donated after student move-out. In the past, we have managed to collect 4 (30yd) pods worth of move-out items. 2 of these pods (6,930 pounds) filled with clothes, shoes, and textiles were sold, donated, or recycled off-campus. In the fall, the Project Move-In sale was implemented where parents and incoming students bought these reusable items for a lower cost and helped divert a significant amount of waste from landfills. Over $5,000 was raised and contributed to the Student Zero Waste Club. This money was used to fund student scholarships for conferences.


Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.