Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.16
Liaison Kylee Singh
Submission Date Sept. 19, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.27 / 8.00 Anastasia Nicole
Zero Waste Program Coordinator
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 640 Tons 1,391 Tons
Materials composted 663 Tons 1,456 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 102 Tons 114 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 2,143 Tons 3,242 Tons
Total waste generated 3,548 Tons 6,203 Tons

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

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2018 Dec. 31, 2018
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 7,816 5,362
Number of employees resident on-site 21 14
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 12 1
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 20,272 19,777
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 2,589 2,229
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 19,117 17,849.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.19 Tons 0.35 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
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:

Gateway Mattress Co reuses or recycles campus mattresses from Housing.

50% of Scrap metal to Bedford assumed as regular waste stream (white goods, furniture, etc.) other 50 assumed to be C&D.

Manure & animal bedding are composted from stables.

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) :

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:

Up to 4 times/year, Cal Poly works with the local Material Recovery Facility (MRF) to do a waste characterization study and calculate what percentage of collected recyclables are recyclable and what percentage are landfilled. During this process, opportunities for improvement are documented and implemented where feasible. E.g., the current high rate of contamination is mostly due to the collection of recyclables in clear bags, which the MRF has no way of opening. The campus hopes to correct this problem in the short-term by having custodial workers leave bags untied when placed in dumpsters. A long-term solution would be to add a bag-cutter to the new material loader expected to be purchased next year.

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:

In 2017 the Green Campus team competed in RecycleMania, a national competition to divert waste from landfill. Waste reduction events included Smash-Yo-Trash (a Super Smash Brothers recycling event), Zero Waste trainings, a clothing swap event, and a waste audit.


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

Waste audits are scheduled at least quarterly. With the help of Learn By Doing class projects and student clubs, target bins are chosen from around the campus, and all waste from a day, or several days, are gathered, sorted, and quantified by waste type. The Campus Climate Action Research Group (CCARG) tracks this data, and the campus Zero Waste Coordinator communicates areas for improvement.

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

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 (e.g. of electronics, furnishings, books and other goods):

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):

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:

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

CP Thrift, a student initiated reuse program, gathers donations at move-out and sorts into categories: non-perishable food going to campus and local foodbanks, clothing going to charitable organizations, and student-life equipment & accessories (mirrors, hangars, lamps, fans, etc.) are gathered, cleaned, stored over the summer, and "sold" on a donation basis to incoming freshman and returning students during fall move-in.

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

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.