Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Barbara Kviz
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Carnegie Mellon University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Barbara Kviz
Environmental Coordinator
Facilities Management Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 743.34 Tons 558.77 Tons
Materials composted 449.27 Tons 83.98 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 29 Tons 3 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 3124 Tons 3006 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 3935 3744
Number of residential employees 0 0
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 11263.60 8803.40
Full-time equivalent of employees 4816 3978.30
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 132.60 106.50

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2012 June 30, 2013
Baseline Year July 1, 2004 June 30, 2005

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

FY2005 was the original baseline year that we included in our first AASHE STARS submission and we didn't change it.


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

Every other year, we conduct waste audits of the general campus by collecting approximately 25 bags from random dumpsters on campus. We identify where they were collected from and weigh them. Each location is sorted into categories; trash, paper, bottles & cans, or composting and weighed again. We calculate the results and design a graph showing how much could have been recycled and diverted from the landfill. We usually find that 30% of what is thrown into the trash could have been diverted.


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

Procurement includes language in contracts to services providers that requires recycling the 'waste' from the project or service. For example; carpet, scrap metal or shipping cardboard recycling is required.


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

The university's warehouse staff manages campus office furniture storage and exchanges. Departmental Facilities Coordinators share information with each other about surplus they have available. Several departments have 'free tables' or 'office surplus zones' in their departments to share surplus supplies internally.


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

The university has taken steps forward to minimize such prints. All course catalogs, course schedules, departmental newsletters and student/faculty/staff directories have been and continue to be available online. Electronic departmental news can be found here: http://www.cmu.edu/piper/links/index.html


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

Carnegie Mellon University students are given printing quotas of $40 each of their two semesters and during the summer (access available by their student identification cards.) All printing defaults are set as double-sided and black-and-white and cost 5 cents per print.


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

The student group, Circle K holds a ‘Whatever Drive’ and collects clothing and other goods to be donated prior to graduation. After graduation, all goods and clothing left from Move-Out are donated to a charity by Housing Services.


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

In the biology department, bulk orders are made for radiological products. This process not only saves cost and time in surveying shipments, but reduces waste. EH&S has a hazardous waste minimization policy and procedures in effect that they hold training sessions for laboratory workers.


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

A food waste audit was conducted at University Center (UC), on April 2006. This audit was part of a feasibility study for food waste composting collection in Pittsburgh Region.

Food waste sources for the audit at the UC included three food preparation kitchens, three food distribution locations. In preparation for the audit, orientation and training was conducted for 40 dining staff, food vendors participating in the audit, and 3 student volunteers.

During the audit period an average of 358.33 lbs per day of “green” food waste, and
284.66 lbs per day of “yellow” food waste were collected.

This regional feasibility study helped lead the way for a commercial food composting to begin a business in 2008.

We have 5 -2 yd food composting dumpsters located on campus now that are being emptied 3x week. Our vendor audits each dumpster for contamination when it is collected, we composted 500+ tons of food waste last year.


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:

The summer of 2014, the EPA Lean Path Program was implemented in our Dining Services with our Food Vendor, CulinArt.


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

All student dining is 100 % trayless. The faculty and staff lunch program at one of our dining locations makes trays available to accommodate faculty members upon request.


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):

Due to the distributed dining model at Carnegie Mellon and the lack of centralized dish areas, the Dining Services does not provide reusable to-go containers.


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):

Schatz Dining room uses re-useable service ware for faculty & staff lunches and has a food composting station set up in the dining hall. Students use this dining room for breakfast and compostable bowls are used. Several vendors have switched to reduced packaging for to-go containers and one food vendor is using compostable containers.


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:

Dining vendors on campus are currently implementing their own reusable beverage cup programs. There are also compostable cornstarch cups in use university wide. Compostable serve ware and utensils are available as an option in university catered events.


A brief description of other dining services waste minimization programs and initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization initiatives is available:

The weight of recycled, composted, and disposed materials were obtained from the Carnegie Mellon Factbook 2013~2014, Volume 28. Compost materials include food waste and plant materials.

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.