Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.69
Liaison Deborah Steinberg
Submission Date Feb. 7, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Carnegie Mellon University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.78 / 8.00 Barbara Kviz
Environmental Coordinator
Facilities Management Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 838.66 Tons 558.77 Tons
Materials composted 622.30 Tons 83.98 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 14.94 Tons 3 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 3,107 Tons 3,006 Tons
Total waste generated 4,582.90 Tons 3,651.75 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 July 1, 2016 June 30, 2017
Baseline Year July 1, 2004 June 30, 2005

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):

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

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 3,935 3,744
Number of employees resident on-site 0 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 11,263.60 8,803.40
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 4,816 3,978.30
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 132.60 106.50
Weighted campus users 12,944 10,442.40

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

EH&S collects all e-waste; televisions, computers & computer peripherals, which includes monitors, keyboards, mice, external drives, printers, copy machines, lab equipment and other devices exclusively plugged into a computer.

Facilities Management & Campus Services recycles cell phones, old floppy or zip disks - cassette or VCR tapes, cd's and jewel cases, 3D printing cartridges, canisters, spools and print engines, alkaline or rechargeable batteries.

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:

Our waste and food composting vendors will not pick up a contaminated recycling or compost dumpsters. We need to empty the contaminates out of the dumpster or it is emptied as waste. Real-time conversations with the Dining & Custodial Services management team asking them to train their staff is the first step in the process. Custodians have monthly training sessions and the sustainability coordinator has been invited to give a recycling training session.

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:

Sustainable Earth, our campus student environmental organization, tables at several events during the semester. They play a recycling game with people that get a reusable bag or utensils if they answer the questions correctly. We also participate in the RecycleMania contest annually.

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

Annually we conduct pop up waste audits in dining halls on campus. We are identifying dining halls where composting would make sense to implement. 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 80% of what is thrown into the trash could have been diverted, mostly for composting.

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

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 the institution's 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 platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse (e.g. of electronics, furnishings, books and other goods):

We are collaborating with a local non-profit that has developed an app called ReUse, that shares the items to be reused with other non-profits. The PA Resources Council monitors the process between customers. We have been sharing how to use the app with stakeholders on campus.

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):

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 the institution's initiatives to make materials (e.g. course catalogs, course schedules, and directories) 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. Conferences and Events now use online apps for their programs instead of printed materials.

A brief description of the institution's program 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 to several charities prior to graduation. After graduation, all goods and clothing left from Move-Out are donated to charities by Housing Services.

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

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 and hold training sessions for laboratory workers.

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