Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.30
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date May 31, 2024

STARS v2.2

Boston University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.62 / 8.00 Gabrielle Brewer
Sustainability Analyst
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 1,377 Tons 361 Tons
Materials composted 1,278 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 98 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 3,195 Tons 10,600 Tons
Total waste generated 5,948 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, 2022 June 30, 2023
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 11,441 11,185
Number of employees resident on-site 191 181
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 29,964 24,623
Full-time equivalent of employees 9,780 8,439
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 1,505 1,605
Weighted campus users 31,587.25 26,434.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.19 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) Yes

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

Books, Film Plastic, K-Cups, Shoes, Mattresses and Mattress Toppers

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?:

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:

IN FY2023 Boston University began implementation and roll-out of internal bin standardization in an effort to have clear, standardized bins and messaging across campus to improve participation in diversion. Boston University also held zero waste trainings and lunch and learn programming to discuss waste diversion efforts on campus and help the community understand the topic and it's importance. As part of the larger Earth Day 365 program on campus during FY2023, Boston University Sustainability partnered with BU Athletics to host the first ever zero-waste sporting event on campus. Lax-a-palooza showcased a home game for both the men's and women's lacrosse teams and the event was designed to encourage composting and reuse efforts and all material was weighed at the end to educate and promote the diversion accomplished.

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

IN FY2023 Boston University and Casella Waste completed 4 waste audits. 1 waste audit was a standalone audit for the new CCDS building for the beginning of the TRUE Zero Waste certification process where we looked at all 3 streams and assessed contamination rates and items of confusion. 3 additional waste audits were conducted as part of the Boston University Earth Day 365 program. Each audit was done a different type of building, one residential, one mixed use and one office/lab location. During FY2023 there was also another round of right sizing initiatives across campus to streamline service based on real-time waste data along with the implementation of pilot programs to address materials such as lab plastics and increased diversion during the move-out period with the creation of a move-out hub to collect textiles, mattress toppers, food donations/compost, etc.

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

In November 2021 Boston University launched its Sustainable Procurement Purchasing Program. Boston University strives to be an industry leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving Zero Waste, as outlined in Boston University’s Climate Action Plan and Zero Waste Plan, by embracing best practices for sustainable sourcing and procurement of goods and services. URL: https://www.bu.edu/sourcing/diversity-sustainability/sustainable-purchasing/

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 provides Boston University departments with a convenient and cost effective option for outfitting spaces, all while reusing furniture before purchasing new. Planning has begun for the implementation of a Zero Waste Plan initiative that calls for a platform to be created enabling material exchange for all staff, faculty, and students

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 is allocated 100 sheets per semester and graduate students are allocated 500 sheets per semester. Faculty and staff are allocated a limited number of pages as well if they choose to use printers with MyPrint system. 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 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. During the pandemic, IS&T provided support on transitioning paper processes to electronic workflows. 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 75 tons from landfills in FY2023. Overall, the program has diverted 908 tons of clothing, electronics, and housewares from the landfill. During move-in, Scarlet Squad volunteers are trained to guide incoming students and families in recycling cardboard. Scarlet Squad promotes sustainability, assists the Orientation office by helping students and guests navigate campus, and creates a welcoming environment. Scarlet Squad volunteers also work as ambassadors to promote sustainability on campus. Each receives a crash training course from BU Sustainability before Move-in. Additionally, the University works with its waste hauler partner to set up cardboard recycling corrals in every campus neighborhood, totaling more than 25 locations. These corrals serve as a visual and convenient reminder to students, families, and staff that cardboard diversion is important. The hauler is able to collect a very clean stream of material for diversion.

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

All mattresses, mixed electronics, bulbs/ballasts, and batteries are collected and recycled. Styrofoam is collected and recycled from the Medical Campus. In FY2023, two lab recycling pilots occurred through GeenLab Recycling and Polycarbin. Together, these pilots allowed for 0.64 tons of lab plastics to be circularized or recycled. A thin plastics collection pilot was also conducted with Trex Film Plastic Recycling. A book recycling program began on campus in FY2023 due to a library clean-out occurring. 32.5 tons of books were donated to World Books, Bay State Books, or Goodwill. Book recycling will continue for textbooks and on an as-need basis after the library clean-out. BU Dining donates left over food to three organizations: Food for Free, Student Food Rescue, and Rosie's Place. In FY2023, over 4 tons of food was donated from BU Dining.

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

This represents FY2023 BU Metrics. While figures entered for the "Weighted Campus Users" calculations are from FY2006, BU Sustainability was only able to collect CY2006 data for "waste generated." Because both are 12-month time periods and share a 6-month overlap, we regard them as comparable. URLS: http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/how-to/achieve-zero-waste/

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.