Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.54
Liaison Alex Miller
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Carleton College
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.50 / 8.00 Alexandra Miller
Sustainability Program Coordinator
Energy and 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 246.79 Tons 525 Tons
Materials composted 272.95 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 41.90 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 488.41 Tons 544 Tons
Total waste generated 1,050.05 Tons 1,069 Tons

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

None


Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2018 June 30, 2019
Baseline Year Aug. 1, 2010 July 30, 2011

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 2010 Carleton switched waste collection vendors and started to require more rigorous data collection. FY18 included, for the first time, the annual "Lighten Up" garage sale weights for the number of items that students donate at move-out time. This number was 23 tons of material. The "materials donated or resold" includes Lighten Up weights and Food Recovery weights, as well as the thousands of pounds of items that were auctioned off in FY18. There is simply no way to weigh these items, but are estimated to be 10.07 tons.


Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 1,790 1,584
Number of employees resident on-site 26 40
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 2,097 1,998
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 712 664
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 2,560.75 2,402.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.41 Tons 0.44 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:
7.84

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:
53.49

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):
53.49

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) Yes

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

Carleton strives to be innovative and reduce waste wherever possible. In FY18, we increased our battery collection from two locations to twelve across campus. Facilities also collects aerosol cans, office supplies, Terracycle (granola wrappers, chip bags), light bulbs, scrap metal, electronics, and appliances. The Sustainability Program Coordinator manages the online auction system and sells things from fleet vehicles to lab equipment. This money is diverted to a waste fund that promotes other zero-waste initatives.


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) :
0 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?:
Yes

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?:
No

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?:
No

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

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:

Carleton maintains a strong relationship with both our recycling and compost facilities. To our knowledge, 0% of our loads have been rejected on-site.


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 FY 17 we resigned everything across campus using infographics for easier comparison than aging pictures. We also do a presentation to students during freshman orientation that is required for all freshman to attend. During our annual Climate Action Week we have what is called the "No Impact Challenge" where students compete to see who can reduce their waste the most by carrying it around all week.


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

In FY17, sustainability staff began conducting specialized audits in individual offices and departments across campus. We found that when specifically targeting one group, diversion rates were higher with less contamination. We followed up with education and a second audit to confirm our tactics were working. our most successful audit went from 78% to a 95% diversion rate.


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

In 2014, Carleton started working with Cort Furniture to manage visiting faculty apartment furniture. The program works such that when the college no longer needs the furniture, it is reused by other subscribers. This limits the amount of furniture that is purchased and thrown away. We also use this service to furnish our student union.


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

The Carleton Office Supply Swap is housed in the Sustainability Office. Staff and faculty can drop off unwanted supplies or pick up things they need at no charge. A sign-in sheet tracks usage.

The Sustainability Office also sells items that are no longer needed at the college through GovDeals.com. In FY17, we sold $41,462 worth of usable goods, thus diverting them from the landfill.


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):

We have a weekly newsletter where we encourage faculty and staff to post items their department no longer needs. This is a campus-wide newsletter, not just a sustainability one.


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):

Carleton uses PaperCut as its print management solution for students. The program charges $0.04 for white and black and $0.15 for color per page. Students start off each academic year with a $30 credit, meaning the first 750 white and black pages are free until students begin to pay out of their own pocket. The system also tracks faculty and staff printing, helping the sustainability office role out an educational campaign to campus about printing.


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:

Carleton's course catalog is available online and registration is an online process. The Carleton online directory is the primary source for staff, faculty and student directory information, there are no printed faculty/staff directories. Our invoices and personnel information are stored on a secure server online as well with shared access between necessary departments. Job postings are sent out via email to the entire campus from HR.


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

Carleton has the "Lighten Up Garage Sale" at the end of every year, where the Center for Civic and Community Engagement organizes drop-off receptacles for students' unwanted possessions. The resulting sale generates profits for local charities. In FY18, Lighten Up donated $39,000 to local charities and diverted 23 tons of usable goods from the landfill. In addition, Carleton has a tri-weekly newsletter called the NNB (Noon News bulletin) in which students can put free ads for items that they are looking to buy, sell or give away.


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

Our ITS purchases electronics with minimal packaging where possible.

We have a disposal policy that asks for items to be used again within the college before selling or donating it. If the item cannot be sold or donated, then proper disposal is required. The Sustainability Program Coordinator position was created to help ease the burden of finding proper recycling and disposal of items. Items are also posted on an online auction sight and profits from the sale go toward sustainability projects on campus.

Our shop manager also handles aerosol cans, batteries, light bulbs, electronics, etc. to be recycled. Batteries can be dropped off at three locations across campus, or through the Specialized Waste Disposal Form on the facilities website.


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

Carleton's waste stream is measured on a volume basis, so compost, recycling, and landfill waste weights are rough estimates.

Carleton students and the institution donate, reuse and resell a huge number of goods. Unfortunately, due to the high volume and the difficulty of weighing all those items, we are unable to say how many tons we divert each year.

Dining Services sustainability initiatives can be found here: https://apps.carleton.edu/campus/dining_services/localgrowers/

For total items resold or donated, we added the total of Lighten Up, Food Recovery, and Surplus- GovDeals.

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.