Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.67
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date Oct. 7, 2021

STARS v2.2

Boston University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.85 / 8.00 Stephen Ellis
Director, Data Analytics
BU 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 2,018 Tons 361 Tons
Materials composted 1,255 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 78 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 5,395 Tons 10,600 Tons
Total waste generated 8,746 Tons 10,961 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:


Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2019 June 30, 2020
Baseline Period 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.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 11,439 11,185
Number of employees resident on-site 172 181
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 27,832 24,623
Full-time equivalent of employees 9,633 8,439
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 882 1,605
Weighted campus users 30,340 26,434.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.29 Tons 0.41 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 Yes
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 No
Other (please specify below) No

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


Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year:
3,352 Tons

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

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

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:

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

During first-year student orientation, Sustainability Ambassadors educate incoming students on waste and recycling at BU, help at the sorting stations, and participate in Weigh the Waste in the dining hall.

In FY19, BU Sustainability's Zero Waste Manager started a new initiative to drive around and conduct visual waste audits of dumpsters with members of Facilities Management & Operations (FMO).

In November 2019, Boston University formed a Zero Waste Implementation Task Force, responsible for: delivering a plan with clear actions the University can take to meet its goal zero waste goal, and engaging the BU community in developing and implementing these solutions. As of Spring 2020, the approval of the final draft of the Zero Waste Plan is on hold due to COVID-19.

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

BU Dining holds Weigh the Waste events during orientation and throughout the year to bring awareness to plate waste and identify the reasons why particular foods are wasted. In FY19 Weigh the Waste events were held once a semester in the three largest dining halls, in FY20 we increased the frequency of Weigh the Waste events to three times a semester in each dining hall, including Granby Commons, our smallest dining hall. In addition to increasing the frequency of the events we also hired students to serve as guides for the events so they are peer-led.

In FY20 BU Dining Services and BU Sustainability conducted back of house audits of BU's largest food court, the GSU, to track contamination levels of pre- and post-consumer waste.

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

BU Sustainability collaborates with the BU Sourcing & Procurement (S&P) team to implement programs to reduce packaging from suppliers.

In addition, the Supply Chain Working Group for the Zero Waste Implementation Task Force are developing a sustainable purchasing program/policy for S&P. This As of Spring 2020, the approval of the final draft of the Zero Waste Plan is on hold due to COVID-19.

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:

Thanks to a collaboration between Olympia Moving & Storage, Institutional Recycling Network (IRN), Sourcing & Procurement, and BU Sustainability, University departments can browse available surplus or remanufactured furniture or donate gently used furniture for reuse within BU. Launched in August 2018, this program controls storage costs and provides Boston University departments with a convenient and cost effective option for outfitting spaces, all while reusing furniture before purchasing new.

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

In 2009, Boston University enacted a printing quota for all students (MyPrint). 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.

URL: http://www.bu.edu/tech/services/cccs/printing/myprint/

A brief description of the institution's initiatives 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.

URL: http://www.bu.edu/phpbin/course-search/

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

Boston University has partnered with Goodwill Industries to reduce waste during move-out since 2010, through a move-out program called "Goodwill, Not Landfill". The move-out program gives students the opportunity to donate unwanted goods to Goodwill during the last month of the academic year. 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.

The Goodwill, Not Landfill move-out program diverted 82 tons from landfills in FY19. Overall, the program has diverted 754 tons of clothing, electronics, and housewares from the landfill.

URL: http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/cardboard-recycling-2019/

During move-in, Scarlet Squad volunteers are trained to guide incoming students and families in recycling cardboard.

URL: https://www.bu.edu/reslife/join-our-team/scarlet-squad/

For Fall 2019, through a coordinated effort with CPO, Residence Life, BUPD, Save That Stuff (BU’s recycling vendor), the Scarlet Squad, and BU Sustainability the University recycled 36 tons of cardboard.

URL: http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/cardboard-recycling-2019/

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

As of Spring 2019, foam toppers are now diverted from the landfill. With the company Green Mattress, foam toppers are made in to carpet padding and car seat cushions. " The Polyurethane foam is used as cushioning and insulation to make such products as automobile seats, carpet underlay and furniture. "


Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

This represents FY2020 BU Metrics.

While figures entered for the "Weighted Campus Users" calculations are from FY06, BU Sustainability 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.