Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.78
Liaison Jessica Bowen
Submission Date March 4, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Aquinas College
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 6.07 / 8.00 Jessica Eimer Bowen
Director of Sustainability
Center for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 60 Tons 35 Tons
Materials composted 46.60 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 1.60 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 49.70 Tons 242.90 Tons
Total waste generated 157.90 Tons 277.90 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2017 June 30, 2018
Baseline Year July 1, 2005 June 30, 2006

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted (e.g. in sustainability plans and policies or in the context of other reporting obligations):

This is when the Center for Sustainability was established and therefore, when the tracking of waste generation rates began.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 790 791
Number of employees resident on-site 8 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 4 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 1,469.30 1,888
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 410 289.30
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 1,612.98 1,830.73

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.10 Tons 0.15 Tons

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

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

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

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
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:

Aquinas offers "Terracycle" recycling (for snack bags, candy wrappers, brita water filters, granola and energy bars, cheese packaging, personal beauty items, and cereal bags) across campus.

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year (e.g. materials that are actively diverted from the landfill or incinerator and refurbished/repurposed) :

Does the institution use single stream recycling (a single container for commingled recyclables) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream (two separate containers for recyclables, e.g. one for paper and another for plastic, glass, and metals) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling (multiple containers that further separate different types of materials) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program (percentage, 0-100):

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed, e.g. efforts to minimize contamination and/or monitor the discard rates of the materials recovery facilities and mills to which materials are diverted:

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives, e.g. initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices such as signage and competitions:

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

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste (e.g. by minimizing packaging and purchasing in bulk):

Our college culture is rooted in frugal spending. We only buy when absolutely necessary and trade whenever possible.

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

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse (e.g. of electronics, furnishings, books and other goods):

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption (e.g. restricting free printing and/or mandating doubled-sided printing in libraries and computer labs):

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials (e.g. course catalogs, course schedules, and directories) available online by default rather than printing them:

Aquinas has made a switch to more resourceful multi-function machines. These machines allow students and faculty to scan, print, and make copies more efficiently than the old machines. One notable function of these machines is the ability to scan documents, convert them into .pdf format, and email them in order to provide a digital copy of the document. The multi-function machines are set to environmentally friendly defaults, including better margins, reduced toner usage, and double-sided printing automatically. Overall, our wish is to reduce the amount of printing necessary and paper used on campus, and these new machines can help us do so.

Aquinas Faculty members are also encouraged to use the online "Course Connect" system for online viewing of syllabi and other course materials, rather than printing the documents.

Our assembly meetings are also "paperless," with agendas and supporting meeting materials view-able on a projector, rather than printed.

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

A large amount of trash tends to be generated during move-in, so the Zero Waste Team is present in full force. In addition to the recycling and composting bins in place, additional Goodwill donation bins are added to all of the residence halls, apartments, and houses. Signs are hung on the trash room doors to remind students of these special collections, and encourage re-thinking of waste disposal habits.

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

All residence halls, apartments, and houses on campus have composting, recycling, special recycling (styrofoam, e-waste, batteries, ink cartridges, and goodwill collections) in place. Composting and recycling is also available on every floor of ever building on campus, and one special collection area is available in each building. All trash cans have also been removed from classrooms (with the exception of a few rooms like art studios), to encourage personal responsibility for waste and get us closer to our zero waste goals.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.