Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.71
Liaison Keisha Payson
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Bowdoin College
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.58 / 8.00 Keisha Payson
Sustainability Director
Sustainable Bowdoin
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 419.68 Tons 417.21 Tons
Materials composted 197.82 Tons 93.43 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 18.90 Tons 21.55 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 38.10 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 604.12 Tons 559.02 Tons
Total waste generated 1,278.62 Tons 1,091.21 Tons

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

Maine Standard Biofuels collects used fryer oil from the dining halls at Bowdoin and converts the oils to fuels and products like biodeisel and bioheat to be resold. This recycling process at the biorefinery generates near-zero waste. Before the fryer oil is collected, the lard is seperated from the oil.

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, 2014 June 30, 2015

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):

In previous submissions we had been using 2004-2005 as the baseline year but in 2014-2015 we started to track all trash and recycling data differently and more comprehensively, a system we are still using today. Starting in 2014-2015 we began to include all trash and recycling dumpsters on campus into our data tracking. Prior to this we only counted waste that was actually weighed at a scale either at the transfer station (recycling), the landfill (trash) or from two large dumpsters on campus where we actually received weights. Starting in 2014 we began to include estimated numbers for the 18 trash dumpsters and 6 recycling dumpsters on campus. To arrive at these numbers we use the volume of the dumpster and utilizing EPA estimates https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-04/documents/volume_to_weight_conversion_factors_memorandum_04192016_508fnl.pdf we determine the weights. We realized we should use this as a baseline, in order to compare apples to apples, so to speak. Even though these are estimates rather than hard weights from a scale, they are more reflective of Bowdoin's actual waste stream, thus the change in recording our data.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 1,634 1,643
Number of employees resident on-site 25 32
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 22 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 1,814 1,791
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 928 894
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 2,493.25 2,432.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.51 Tons 0.45 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) 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 (e.g. materials that are actively diverted from the landfill or incinerator and refurbished/repurposed) :
18.90 Tons

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:

The college is charged twice as much for contaminated recycling than non-contaminated recycling since it is marked as trash. This price increase encourages reduction of contamination.

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:

Bowdoin is committed to increasing its waste diversion rate through efforts to change students daily waste habits. The Sustainability Office's EcoRep program and the Residential Life Office's proctors and resident assistants help spread awareness of how students can be more conscious of their waste behaviors day to day with posters and weekly emails to all of the stufents in residential buildings. Students, staff , and faculty are educated on what can be composted or recycled and where those materials belong when they are disposed of. New, easily distinguishable zero-sort recycling dumpsters have been installed at all campus apartment complexes and each of the 8 College Houses have installed composting cones.

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

The Eco Reps from each first year residence hall and each College House conduct annual waste audits of their respective halls. Trash bags from each house's trash room are collected, sorted, and analyzed to determine how much waste could have been recycled, and to provide a better understanding of where to target educational outreach efforts.

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

Bowdoin worked with our office suppy vendor, W.B. Mason, to provide the college with reusable totes for delivery to reduce the waste produced by shipping materials. It lasted for a couple of years but unfortunately the office supply vendor has discontinued that program. The college has adopted a “Green Mondays and Wednesdays” program that does not allow delivery to campus on these days to reduce ghg emissions.

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

Sustainable Bowdoin encourages offices to exchange supplies via the annual end of the year Give-and-Go collection program that the college runs in partnership with Goodwill of Northern New England. There is also an online warehouse forum for material exchange run by Facilities Management, typically used for surplus office and conference room furniture. This warehouse encourages offices to use these items in the warehouse rather than buying a new item. Facilities Management also runs an Office Supply Reuse program, run similarly to the furniture warehouse known as The Office Supply Shop. They accept most office supplies and then offer them for reuse to other departments around campus. As the shop fills up, surplus items are donated to local non-profits that help provide school supplies to teachers.

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):

The institution has a Facebook page (Bowdoin Sell & Swap) and a website (Bowdoin Classifieds) for peer-to-peer exchange of goods. There are also two to three annual clothing swap events where the residential halls have a box for the students to put their unwanted clothes in and if they find another clothing item they want from the box, they can take it.

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):

To reduce waste and encourage less paper usage, Bowdoin has adopted an "allocation, then charge" model for printing and copying. Each semester, students receive a $60 credit - equivalent to 750 black-and-white, double-sided sheets. Single-sided prints are 5 cents per page, while double-sided prints are 8 cents per page. Once a student's semester's allocation is exhausted, print costs are debited from their OneCard account.

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:

Most college materials are now default available online instead of in print. Student and staff employee time cards are online, as are deposit stubs and annual tax forms, as well as most of Bowdoin's institutional policies and procedures. The default distribution of College directories, course catalogs and handbooks are online and are only available in print in limited quantities by request. Additionally, annual employee benefit enrollment information is now distributed online instead of in print. Many professors post relevant course material on Bowdoin's online site, Blackboard, and encourage students to print as little material as possible. Additionally, the amount of paper in the first-year orientation packets has been significantly reduced, and all of the material is now available on Blackboard. Most placement tests are also required to be done online, and some courses have online quizzes on Blackboard.

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

Bowdoin provides extra recycling dumpsters during first-year move-in as well as at the time of spring move-out to encourage students to recycle their cardboard boxes, papers, etc. At the end of the year, Bowdoin provides Give 'N Go boxes to every residential dorm as well. Students are encouraged to donate any items (rugs, lights, mirrors, clothing, bedding) they no longer want or cannot travel home with. After all students have left, the collected items are picked up by Goodwill of Northern New England. They take the materials to their warehouse where items are sorted and redistributed throughout their New England stores. This past year, Goodwill collected over 37,396 pounds of materials from the student move-out program. The Sustainability Office at Bowdoin collected 407 pounds of food and delivered it to the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick, which distributes the collected food to local individuals and families in need. 30 mini fridges were also collected and donated to Re-Fridge, an organization that refurbishes these fridges and sells them at lower prices to college students.

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

For many years Bowdoin's libraries have collected single sided paper that is abandoned at the libraries public printers and sends the paper o the Bowdoin Copy Center, which binds the scrap paper into reusable note pads. The Bowdoin Grounds department maintains a spot on campus for pallet recycling. When the pile gets large enough (50+ pallets) a local pallet recycling company will come by campus to retrieve the pallets for reuse and recycle.

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

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.