Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.18
Liaison Ryan Todd
Submission Date May 9, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

California State University, Sacramento
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.59 / 5.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 653.98 Tons 469.06 Tons
Materials composted 631.92 Tons 639.13 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 26.41 Tons 1.08 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,080.69 Tons 1,180.90 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 1,700 1,700
Number of residential employees 49 49
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 25,229 24,237
Full-time equivalent of employees 1,860 1,801
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 9,532 12,372

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Aug. 1, 2014 July 31, 2015
Baseline Year Aug. 1, 2013 July 31, 2014

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:

Since this is the first time Sac State is completing the STARS report, the performance year was chosen based on the most recent 12 month period prior to starting work on the STARS report. Sac State started working on the STARS report in September 2015. The baseline year was determined by choosing the next 12 month period prior to the performance year so that the data being looked at for both date ranges would include the last 2 years to include the campus’ most recent sustainability efforts and achievements.

A brief description of any (non-food) waste audits employed by the institution:

1. The Sustainability Department conducted an audit on the contents of 50+ external trash cans to determine which items should be diverted.
2. The Recycling Department has conducted several audits to determine which trash and recycle cans should be relocated.
3. The Recycling Department has conducted several audits to determine which trash cans can be pulled from service in order to encourage recycling. As a result, over 20 trash cans have been removed from service.
4. An audit was performed to determine which of the campus' cigarette urns collected the most cigarette butts in order to determine locations where urns need to be placed.
5. Bills and invoices are routinely audited for trends in weight fluctuations and types of materials collected.
6. Spot checks are conducted on the campus' waste and recycle receptacles to reduce cross-contamination of waste and recycling streams.
7. All excess equipment and furniture are audited to determine whether those items are fit for reuse or to be recycled.
8. The Recycling Coordinator collects waste data annually from several entities and subsidiaries of the university to determine which waste diversion programs and practices should be implemented on the campus.
9. Football game tailgate recycling events are conducted not only to collect recyclable materials but also to determine which and how much materials are being collected.
10. To maximize payment, metals are audited and separated according to their type value prior to being recycled.
11. Two audits have been conducted to determine how much of the campus is still in need of desk side recycling bins and mini trash bins. The results of these audits have led to increased recycling can distribution and decreased trash can distribution.
12. An annual Buy-Recycled report is required by all departments conducting purchases to ascertain how many purchases and total dollar amount are being spent on products containing recycled content. This report is audited to ensure that sustainable purchase requirements are being met.

A brief description of any institutional procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

The University's Procurement office includes the promotion of sustainable purchasing on its website and includes the following info:
1.The University encourages its current suppliers to carry and promote sustainable products as part of their catalogs.
2. The Procurement office encourages its buyers to consider purchasing green products in lieu of other products.
3. Several benefits--environmental, monetary, and otherwise--are outlined on the Procurement website.
4. Additionally, the following tips are included to help a buyer make the most sustainable purchase: consolidate orders, use of electronic catalogs, buy items containing recycled content, double-sided printing, choosing renewable resources, opting for non-hazardous materials, buy local, look for energy efficient models, buy only what is needed and, finally, to spread the word to others to buy green.
5. Links to the EPA's Environmentally Preferred Purchasing website are available, the federal government's sustainable buying guidelines page, as well as CalRecycle's Buy Recycled Campaign page.

6. All vendors registered with the CSU must have all products sold as containing recycled content (some exceptions are outlined) much certify said products with the CSU to prove the recycled content.
7. Procurement requires certain purchases such as metal, paper, paint and more to contain certain amounts of recycled content. A page on their websites outlines the products and the required recycled content percentages.
8. A Buy-Recycled audit report is required of all campus departments conducting purchases to report the dollar amount spent on said recycled content purchases.
9. Facilities Management's work order program requires that all requests for purchasing made through the program record whether or not the purchase is green and if the purchase contains recycled content.

A brief description of any surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

1. Property Management Department collects all excess equipment and furniture to determine if the items are fit for reuse for campus needs.
2. Any excess furniture or equipment that Property Management Department determines of sound quality but not fit for reuse on campus are put up for public auction.
3. When a department switches to new copiers that require a new kind of toner cartridge, the old unused toner cartridges are collected for redistribution to other departments which may have use for those cartridges.
4. On a limited basis, when old office supplies are collected for recycle, if said office supplies are in good usable condition, those office supplies are reallocated.
5. Books can be donated to the Friends of the Library by any member of campus community or general public. Those books are then resold by the Friends of the Library which raises funds going for the Library.

A brief description of the institution's efforts to make materials available online by default rather than printing them:

1. The University as a whole, and its many Departments, Divisions, and other subsidiaries, routinely utilize websites, social media, and other online avenues as a means to make available information for its customers. These sites routinely provide interactive opportunities, i.e. forms, by which said customers may apply for a program, conduct monetary transactions, request work, etc.
2. SacCT, a Blackboard Learning Program, is utilized by Academics as a virtual blackboard and classroom forum for the students. Students can discuss with classmates, take instruction from professors, register for classes, take quizzes and tests online, and receive their grades without ever needing to print.
3. The campus utilizes an online universal directory by which contact information for faculty, staff, and other campus entities can be located. There is no printed version of the directory.
4. The campus employs a virtual course catalog where students can search for potential classes. This has led to a significant reduction in the need for printed catalogs.
5. Campus staff utilize a shared drive on which qualified members store and share files, thus negating the need for printed hard copies.
6. Facilities Management employs an online software program (AiM) on which the campus community can request work. This program has negated the need for paper forms.
7. The campus allows qualified members to access their workstations remotely, thus negating the necessity of printing files and other documents when working remotely.
8. All but two of the University's business operations (Facilities Management and Police Department) have switched to online verification of work hours. Previously, each employee received a printed form of their hours worked by which they would verify their hours for their paychecks. Now, most of the campus community can verify this information online without the need for paper hard copies.
9. The Procurement Department has created a virtual online shopping center filled with approved vendors. This eliminates the need for any printed catalogs of approved vendors and their products.

A brief description of any limits on paper and ink consumption employed by the institution:

1. Many of the University's printing stations charge by the page for print jobs, discouraging frivolous or excessive paper and toner consumption.
2. Paper towel dispensers have pre-cut amounts to discourage overconsumption of paper towels.
3. When possible, many departments are switching to a single printer for an office or group of employees, thus negating the need for excessive ink and toner purchases.
4. Though not mandatory, some offices encourage double-sided printing and copying to save paper and ink.
5. Reprographics Department uses a toner-saving printer that distributes less ink on a page and does it in such a way as to make it easier to remove ink during the recycling process.

A brief description of any programs employed by the institution to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

1. During move-in/move-out events, extra 4-yard recycling bins are located on site.
2. Special recycling stream collections are created for these events. These special collections have included but are not limited to Styrofoam, battery, and e-waste collections.
3. On-site Housing staff are trained to help residents recognize opportunities for recycling during move-in and move-out.
4. The University, Sustainability Department, and Housing all utilize social media to encourage residents to recycle during these events.
5. Extra notices (posters, flyers) are located throughout Housing to direct residents to recycling receptacles and which items can be recycled.
6. In their moving-in instructions to new residents, Housing indicates which nonrecyclable packing items should be avoided (Styrofoam and plastic film), and also announces that recycling will be part of these events.
7. In an effort to decrease the amount of appliance waste at move-out events, Housing has employed a program to rent personal refrigerators to residents. In the past, many refrigerators were left behind during move-out. At the last move-out event, only 4 personal refrigerators were left behind, only 3 of which contained Freon.

A brief description of any other (non-food) waste minimization strategies employed by the institution:

1. In order to reduce waste, the campus reduced its number of external trash cans and repurposed five of those trash cans into recyling receptacles.
2. Representatives of STORC are routinely invited to glean items from the Facilities Management "boneyard" for reuse and upcycling at STORC. For example, bathroom stall dividers that were destined for recycling were upcycled to create compost bins for STORC.
3. The University has employed an award-winning Take Back program that has allowed the campus community to bring in personal items for recycling for which the University either bears no cost to recycle or is compensated monetarily.
4. Sac State Sustainability conducts two 'Recycle-It-All at Sac State' events--one in the Fall and one in the Spring. At these events, the campus community is encouraged to bring in various items for recycling at no cost to them.
5. Sac State Sustainability has restructured many of its waste contracts to facilitate more opportunities for recycling or waste diversion, e.g., specifications that all green waste be diverted from landfills and food composting be an option provided by the waste hauler.
6. Organic waste is routinely donated to STORC for composting purposes.
7. Over the past couple of years, recycling options have been offered for more items previously not recyclable.
8. Sac State Sustainability has aggressively pursued online avenues such as social media and its website as a means to further promote updates and information about recycling to the campus community.
9. Sac State Sustainability has participated in "Game Day Recycling" and "RecycleMania."
10. In addition to redistributing equipment and furniture, Property Management now conducts public auctions of excess furniture and equipment.
11. Sac State Sustainability has teamed up with California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) to implement the "Don't Rush to Flush" and "Refuel Your Fun" campaigns on the Sac State campus. "Don't Rush to Flush" is a pharmaceutical take-back program and "Refuel Your Fun" offers the option of renting reusable propane tanks rather than purchasing single-use propane tanks.
12. Sac State Sustainability is committed to composting its green waste onsite as much as is possible.
13. Policies have been set in place to maximize the purchasing of recycled paper.
14. Campus has continued to utilize deskside mini trash bins in an effort to instill in its customers the idea that most of their waste should be recycled.
15. Recycling has employed the use of infographics and posters to educate the campus community about what is recyclable.
16. The Recycling Coordinator has participated in several interviews, speeches, and other engagements to help educate the campus community about recycling and waste diversion.
17. In 2015, the campus' first-ever large-scale zero-waste event was conducted (the Clean Air Partnership Awards Luncheon).
18. Long before local and state regulations required it, the Union Store stopped automatically offering plastic bags to its customers in an effort to reduce plastic bag waste.
19. Many of the campus eateries no longer offer Styrofoam to-go containers.
20. The campus has removed much of its grassy turf in favor of nonorganic materials. Though this was done to conserve water, it has the added benefit of reducing the campus green waste.

A brief description of any food waste audits employed by the institution:

1. Dining Services audits the billing for all post-consumer food waste collected from the Dining Commons to note trends in program participation among students and diners in the Dining Commons. They also audit the billing to keep track of the amount of said material that is being collected.
2. Dining Commons employees audit the waste stream on a daily basis to ensure that only post consumer food waste is collected. This is important since the waste is going to a facility to make Bio Compacted Natural Gas and needs to be free of contaminants.
3. A student conducted an audit of the contents of the trash at our Dining Commons facility to determine how much food was thrown away as trash.
4. Two students conducted an audit of the campus' numerous eateries and coffee houses to determine how much pre-consumer, post consumer, and mixed pre and post consumer food was thrown away on daily and weekly basis.
5. The Sustainability Department conducted a general audit of 50+ of the campus' external refuse bins to determine what was being thrown away, including to what extent food was being tossed.
6. In March, April, and part of May 2014, the Recycling Department collected used coffee grounds from the University’s coffee houses and audited for location and weight of those collections. From March 11th through May 2nd over 2000 lbs. of used coffee grounds were collected from the coffee houses. The most came from the Library Java City at 605 lbs. All materials were added to an on-site mulch pile to be used on campus to enhance the greenery.

A brief description of any programs and/or practices to track and reduce pre-consumer food waste in the form of kitchen food waste, prep waste and spoilage:

1. The campus' STORC facility (Sustainable Technologies Optimization Research Center) collects preconsumer waste from many of the campus' eateries and also from the campus Children's Center which generates preconsumer waste when creating snacks and lunch for its young students.
2. The campus' Consumer Sciences Department also has its left over grease recycled at STORC which uses it to create bio-diesel.
3. Used coffee grounds from the campus coffee houses are collected in the campus' Grounds to Grounds program to be used to promote composting.

A brief description of programs and/or practices to track and reduce post-consumer food waste:

1. All post-consumer food waste collected by the Dining Commons is collected and sent to a local facility called Clean World to be upcycled into BioCompacted Natural Gas (BioCNG). This BioCNG is also what fuels our Hornet bus shuttle system. This has resulted in nearly 27 tons diverted from the landfill in the program's first semester of existence.
2. Also at the Dining Commons, in an effort to reduce the amount of food students serve themselves, trayless dining has been implemented. Without trays, students are less inclined to over-serve themselves.
3. In order to track the amount of post-consumer waste generated on campus, two students conducted an audit of the campus' eateries and coffee houses to determine how much product was generated on a daily and weekly basis.
4. A student conducted an audit of the amount of post-consumer food collected in the campus' Dining Commons.

A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable and/or third party certified compostable to-go containers for to-go food and beverage items (in conjunction with a composting program):

1. Most of the campus eateries have switched to some form of compostable to-go containers from Styrofoam containers. As of this writing, only three of the University's eateries still use Styrofoam.

A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable service ware for “dine in” meals and reusable and/or third party certified compostable service ware for to-go meals (in conjunction with a composting program):

1. Every student in residence at the University's Housing Dept. is given a reusable to-go container for food, a reusable cup, and a reusable bag to carry everything in. These reusables can be used at the campus Dining Commons where students can use these items to pick up their food to go. This is part of a larger plan to institute a similar program at other campus eateries.
2. At Housing's "Block Party" event, which is an event to initiate students to housing life, Dining Services gave away over 700 reusable Starbucks mugs for students to use at campus coffee houses.
3. All serveware used for dine-in meals at the Dining Commons is reusable.

A brief description of any discounts offered to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in to-go food service operations:

1. Each coffee house on campus offers a $0.25 discount for any student, faculty, or staff who uses a reusable mug.

A brief description of other dining services waste minimization programs and initiatives:

1. Used cooking oil from many of the campus eateries are taken to the STORC where they are upcycled into biodiesel. Whatever used oil/rendering collected that is in excess of the wants and needs of the STORC is collected and given to a local rendering company.
2. New water, and energy-efficient, dish washing equipment was installed in the dining commons.
3. In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Dining Services has committed to purchase at least 25% of its produce locally.
4. In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in 2015, campus eatery Epicure, in an effort to cater a zero-waste event, committed to using salad green grown onsite at the university STORC. Additionally, a portion of the event's pre-consumer food waste went back to the STORC for composting.

The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization initiatives is available:
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.