Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 62.57
Liaison Kylee Singh
Submission Date Feb. 16, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

California Polytechnic State University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.13 / 8.00 Eric Veium
Energy & Sustainability Analyst
Facilities Management & Development
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 730 Tons 1391 Tons
Materials composted 2367 Tons 1456 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 90 Tons 114 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1993 Tons 3242 Tons
Total waste generated 5180 Tons 6203 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:
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Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2015 Dec. 31, 2015
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2008 Dec. 31, 2008

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 order to report for CSU Sustainability policy the 2008 baseline was established because it is the earliest date with consistent and reliable data available.


Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 7377 5362
Number of employees resident on-site 14 14
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 1 1
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 20213 19777
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 2387 2229
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 18798.75 17849.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.28 Tons 0.35 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:
20.71

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:
61.53

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):
61.53

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 No
Cooking oil Yes
Plant materials Yes
Animal bedding Yes
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:

In addition to the standard items that are recycled on campus there are also efforts to ensure mattresses from university housing are recycled and concrete and asphalt from demolition projects are properly disposed of.


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

Cal Poly recognizes that a comprehensive Zero Waste program is fundamental to advancing campus sustainability. Waste reduction is an area of significant opportunity for student engagement and cultural change. The core messages of campus cultural value and personal responsibility are captured in the program’s logo and motto: “Cal Poly Zero Waste, It’s in your Hands!” Throughout the years, Cal Poly has excelled in managing waste streams that are under Facilities’ direct control. Facilities Management has implemented numerous successful programs to manage the diverse waste streams generated on our campus including animal waste, green waste, pre-consumer food waste, furniture and surplus equipment, construction and demolition waste, and others. These programs have consistently diverted over 70% of waste from landfill. The consumer waste stream - the waste placed in trash or recycle bins by individual faculty, staff, and students on a daily basis - has proven to be much more challenging to improve. For decades, Cal Poly has had a basic consumer waste recycling program which has focused on making recycling bins and collection service available across campus. Unfortunately, this generally passive program has resulted in approximately 80% of consumer waste going to landfill. State mandates, CSU policy, and increased awareness by the campus community leadership have driven a need to develop a comprehensive Zero Waste program with a commitment to flipping the consumer waste diversion rate from 80% landfill to 80% diversion by 2020. In early 2015, operations staff from Facilities, University Housing, ASI, Campus Dining, the Green Campus Program, and Zero Waste Club came together and formed a Zero Waste Collaborative to tackle the problem, pursuing two initial strategies:
• A Zero Waste pilot program was designed to quickly implement Zero Waste collection at several different locations, representing a major cross section of the campus including six freshman dorms, Kennedy Library, the University Union, and The Avenue central dining commons. The pilot focused on design and testing of triple-stream collection infrastructure (compost, recycle and landfill), safe materials handling methods, descriptive signage, and educational messaging.
• The Collaborative also focused on waste produced in “special streams” from large events such as commencement and summer new student orientation programs, engineering labs and architecture studios, housing move-in and move-out, and sporting events. Twice in the last year, senior level Environmental Engineering students in a Pollution Prevention class have evaluated these special streams and designed solutions for the campus to implement.


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

In addition to strategies developed by the Zero Waste Collaborative, the Zero Waste Club and Green Campus team are hosting educational outreach activities for peer to peer cultural behavior change. Over the past year, club members worked closely with Facilities and Campus Dining, performing regular waste audits at The Avenue to identify the effectiveness of improved 3D signage created and installed by the Zero Waste Club, as well as tabling at events across campus to educate students. Future initiatives include a Material Reuse Depot on campus and a drive to eliminate single use bottled water and plastic bags from all campus locations.


A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste (e.g. by minimizing packaging and purchasing in bulk):
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A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:
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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):
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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):
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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:
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A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:
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A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.