Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 55.58
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date April 26, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Boston University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.85 / 5.00 Dennis Carlberg
Associate Vice President for Sustainability
BU Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 1,835 Tons 361 Tons
Materials composted 1,411 Tons 0 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 144 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 5,838 Tons 10,600 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 11,406 11,185
Number of residential employees 162 181
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 25,866 24,623
Full-time equivalent of employees 8,999 8,439
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 882 1,605

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2015 June 30, 2016
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2005 Dec. 31, 2006

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:
Boston University has adopted FY2006 as the baseline year for all operations metrics for sustainability. In 2006 a waste audit was conducted on the larger, Charles River Campus which provided the recycling quantity for the baseline year. No waste data was recorded on the Medical Campus until 2008, so the best estimate of the total waste incinerated for the University assumes the 2008 Medical Campus incinerated waste value for 2006. These 962 tons are added to the Charles River Campus total incinerated waste to provide a more accurate, though estimated total. We do know that nothing was recycled on the Medical Campus in 2006.

A brief description of any (non-food) waste audits employed by the institution:
Waste audits in residence halls including dorm rooms, offices, study lounges, mail rooms, and laundry rooms, are performed after the implementation of a new recycling programs across campus. The data collected serves to evaluate the effectiveness of more convenient waste & recycling systems, as well as the effectiveness of the educational signage program associated with the program. This information is also used as a reference for waste minimization strategies in other residential buildings on campus.

A brief description of any institutional procurement policies designed to prevent waste:
sustainability@BU continues to collaborate with the BU Sourcing & Procurement team to implement a program to reduce packaging from our suppliers.

A brief description of any surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:
The sustainability@BU Exchange is a free service that allows BU employees to swap items with colleagues around the office and throughout the University. It also provides a way to reuse supplies & furniture within the university. To benefit from the service, employees fill out an online form, upload a photo of the item and submit their request – operating similarly to CraigsList. http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/campus-resources/reduce-reuse-recycle/exchange/

A brief description of the institution's efforts to make materials available online by default rather than printing them:
All course catalogs, course schedules and directories are only available online. These documents are no longer printed. (See http://www.bu.edu/phpbin/course-search/ for more details)

A brief description of any limits on paper and ink consumption employed by the institution:
In 2009, Boston University enacted a strictly enforced printing quota for all students. Every undergraduate student, faculty member, and staff member is allocated 100 sheets per semester and graduate students are allocated 500 sheets per semester. Double-sided printing is available at all on-campus print center locations. Print allocations are reset each semester and there is a fee for each page that exceeds the allocated limit. https://www.bu.edu/tech/services/cccs/printing/myprint/

A brief description of any programs employed by the institution to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:
In order to reduce waste during the move-out period, Boston University has partnered with Goodwill Industries since spring 2010. The move-out program gives students the opportunity to donate unwanted goods to Goodwill during the last month of the academic year. Collection bins are placed in fifteen convenient locations throughout campus so that students may have easy access to drop-off areas. Goodwill collects clothing and other goods from each location and then sells those items in stores to support important local job training and youth programs. Goodwill, not Landfill is now implemented at the end of each semester to capture all the good stuff students leave behind when they move out of their dorms. The Goodwill, not Landfill move-out program diverted 68.5 tons of good stuff from landfills in 2016. Since May 2009, this program has diverted 517.0 tons of clothing, electronics, and housewares from the landfill. (http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/campus-resources/move-in/move-out-2/) During move-in, Scarlet Squad volunteers are trained to guide incoming students and families in recycling cardboard. This year, through a coordinated effort with FM&P, Custodial Services, Residence Life, Housing, BUPD, Save That Stuff (BU’s recycling vendor), the Scarlet Squad, and sustainability@BU, the University recycled 37.6 tons of cardboard. (http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/campus-resources/move-in/move-in-cardboard-recycling/)

A brief description of any other (non-food) waste minimization strategies employed by the institution:
Since 2009, sustainability@BU has provided reusable coffee mugs to community members who sign up to Join the Challenge, a monthly competition to reduce our environmental footprint. In 2016 the Join the Challenge platform was moved to the sustainability@BU app. http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/what-you-can-do/ten-sustainable-actions/bring-your-own-mug/

A brief description of any food waste audits employed by the institution:
Waste audits are conducted on an annual basis to track and measure waste disposal. We track diversion rates year over year to understand best practices. "Composting Comes Out" is a peer education and awareness program in the dining halls. Student volunteers help students scrape leftovers into the compost barrel, which is normally done in the back of house dish room. Clean Plate Club stickers are also handed out to students that have not left any food on their plate, to discourage food waste. “Composting Comes Out” has been extended to include Orientation for incoming first year undergraduate students who will be living in the dorms.

A brief description of any programs and/or practices to track and reduce pre-consumer food waste in the form of kitchen food waste, prep waste and spoilage:
BU Dining Services tracks food products from the moment it enters our facilities to the point at which it is consumed or otherwise disposed. We track and classify refuse into three categories for all of our operations weekly, monthly, and annually for production waste, service waste and storage waste. Pre-production refuse is analyzed by the management staff daily to ensure consistent production, trimming and portioning skills. This whole process allows us to further analyze, forecast and understand sources of waste and areas of intervention. This process is called "End to End" food waste management and it helps BU Dining continuously improve our business by conserving valuable resources and minimizing the impact of our services to the University and community.

A brief description of programs and/or practices to track and reduce post-consumer food waste:
All residential dining halls at Boston University have been trayless since 2008. The majority of food is also made to order and we offer smaller plates and portion sizes for many dishes in our residential dining locations upon request. In addition, Dining Services has an extensive signage and marketing program about food waste in our residential dining halls that educates students and customers alike about food waste.

A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable and/or third party certified compostable to-go containers for to-go food and beverage items (in conjunction with a composting program):
At BU's main food court, The George Sherman Union (GSU), customers are given the option of using reusable tableware and utensils, BPI-certified compostable to-go tableware and utensils or a reusable to-go container. The packaging used for the Grab and Go sandwiches, salads, pre-sliced fruits and desserts program in the GSU are all BPI-certified compostable to-go packaging. This helps us reduce packaging waste from our operations. Residential dining halls use exclusively reusable tableware. Reusable to-go containers have been available for purchase at the student union since September 2011 and can be used at the food court. Customers using the reusable to-go containers are given a $0.25 discount each time it is used. Most other retail locations on campus use BPI-certified compostable tableware, with the exception of some of our brand-name service locations.

A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable service ware for “dine in” meals and reusable and/or third party certified compostable service ware for to-go meals (in conjunction with a composting program):
All three residential dining halls use exclusively reusable dishware. The majority of disposable tableware (about 90%) purchased at Boston University is certified compostable and bio-based; the rest is recyclable. Polystyrene was eliminated from campus in 2008. Twelve out of fourteen locations that offer compostable disposables offer post-consumer composting. In addition, we offer reusable to-go containers for to-go meals in the student union. Students purchase the container for $4 and receive $0.25 off each time they use the containers.

A brief description of any discounts offered to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in to-go food service operations:
Dining Services offers a $0.25 reusable mug discount at every coffee-serving location on campus. This discount applies to all drip coffee and tea. A $0.25 discount is also offered for customers that use our reusable to-go container.

A brief description of other dining services waste minimization programs and initiatives:
All of our staffed catered events on campus are Zero Waste. That means that our compostable tableware is collected on tray stands on the floor of the event instead of trash cans, retrieved and sorted into compost and recycling by our trained wait staff in the back of the event. With this practice, very little trash is generated at events. Our approach to Zero Waste events is used across campus, throughout the year, for all size events ranging from 5 to 5,000 people.

The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization initiatives is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
While figures entered for the "Weighted Campus Users" calculations are from FY06, sustainability@BU was only able to collect CY06 data for "waste generated." Because both are 12-month time periods and share a 6-month overlap, we regard them as comparable.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.