Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Heather Albert-Knopp
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

College of the Atlantic
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.83 / 8.00 Andrea Russell
Sustainability Coordinator and Community Energy Center Program Manager
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 23.07 Tons 17 Tons
Materials composted 23.93 Tons 7.60 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 1 Tons 0.25 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 20.50 Tons 30 Tons
Total waste generated 68.50 Tons 54.85 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, 2013 June 30, 2014

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):

COA uses the academic year 2013-2014 for a baseline because the college transitioned to a new waste auditing system at that time. Waste audits were conducted during week-long periods during fall term 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All discarded resources, including recycled materials, were weighed and sorted. The particular audit week was selected because it occurred near midterm, which can better serve as a representative sample time than at the beginning or end of terms or during breaks. We feel comfortable using fall term as a sample time because waste produced during winter break is significantly lower than average while waste produced during the summer is increased due to special programing.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 150 139
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 325 367
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 108 120
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 362.25 400

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.19 Tons 0.14 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 No
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:

Yogurt containers for takeaway food:

Campus kitchens receive ingredients, including yogurt for daily breakfast service, in containers which are usually destined for the trash after one use because plastic #5 cannot be recycled locally. However, the kitchen team now makes the containers available to students, faculty, and staff to take and use for food storage such as dining hall leftovers. In addition, a set of these containers are kept in all campus residency kitchens so that students do not have to purchase plastic takeaway containers.

Free Box:

The college has designated a room where the campus community can bring school supplies, books, clothes, and other miscellaneous materials that would otherwise go straight to the trash or be moved off campus to be recycled or donated. The Free Box is a much-loved space for reusing, re-purposing and otherwise sharing previously-owned items, and was transformed from a literal cardboard box (and overflowing piles of clothes) into a retail-like space with clearly labeled shelves and hanging racks for clothing, accessories, and kitchen and household items. This space allows anyone to browse the well-organized resources and acquire items for their closet, kitchen, art project, room, or other use.

Free wood pile:

The free wood pile is leftover wood from student, staff, and faculty building projects. The pile, marked by signs, is open to any campus community member wishing to acquire wood for secondary use free of charge. It is located at the Buildings & Grounds facility, and is a topic on the annual sustainability orientation scavenger hunt, ensuring that all incoming students are aware of its existence and the availability of free wood for future projects.

Art projects from recovered materials:

The COA community is full of creative people and unique opportunities, and many art projects include materials recovered from recycling and waste disposal. Our discarded resources team leaves all trash/recycle bins unlocked, therefore allowing community members to remove still-useful items. Art installations of all sorts incorporate these discarded resources to help lower supply costs while reducing materials otherwise bound for disposal.

Compost from toilets:

Composting toilets, a part of the COA built environment since the opening of the Kathryn W. Davis Student Residences and Deering Common Community Center in 2008, help to reduce our water consumption and wastewater discharge. Instead of shipping this material off campus, the College uses the human compost as fertilizer for ornamental plantings on college grounds. Our eight composting toilets produce approximately 6.75 tons of “humanure” compost annually.

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) :
7.75 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?:

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:

College discarded resources staff and workstudy students make every effort to minimize contamination of recyclable items. Items are sorted twice - once by those depositing the item, and again by those in charge of picking up from recycling stations around campus. Bins are outfitted with lids and clearly labeled. Paper is collected in separate, large sacks. Recycling stations are located inside a building or otherwise covered from the elements. Discarded resource workstudy students collect and sort recyclable materials with a close eye on the process. They bag all items to keep them clean and organized, resorting them in the process.

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:

COA enacted a Discarded Resource & Material Management Policy (“zero waste policy”) which compels people to change behaviors regarding waste-related habits. Zero-waste culture has been thriving at COA for many years. Even prior to passing the policy, advertisements for functions and events often included a note for individuals to bring their own utensils, bowls and cup ware. Through these actions, COA has made a commitment to reduce waste, the ultimate goal being a zero-waste campus by 2025. The student-run Zero-Waste Club and the Discarded Resources work-study team worked with the governing body Campus Committee for Sustainability to pass this policy at the All College Meeting in 2017. This policy applies to College activities, operations and off-campus events. With this policy faculty, staff, administration, community members, and visitors are encouraged to change their behaviors regarding waste-related habits.

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

A week-long waste audit (the Discarded Resource Audit and Awareness Project) was conducted in October 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. For one week, students collected, measured, and sorted discarded resources on campus. The materials were then displayed in a large tent on campus so community members could learn more about the discarded resources the college produces and how to better reduce and reuse resources.

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

The office supply company that we purchase from also helps us to find "scratch and dent" items when they are available to purchase. When appropriate, the IT department purchases multiples of the same printer so they can be shared for parts to serve future repair needs.

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

Requests for office furniture and supplies are often advertised via campus-wide email to faculty and staff before purchases are made. Computers no longer used by the college are given away to community members. While some office furniture and supplies are exchanged in this manner, students, staff, and faculty also use the "Bar Harbor Barter and Swap" Facebook group to exchange and reuse furniture and other items.

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 discarded resources work study team. They keep a exchange/reuse program going across campus through email. If student, faculty or staff has an item they no longer need, they write to the DR team who will collect the item, store it in a dedicated, weatherproof facility, and then notify the rest of the campus community that it is available.

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):

Students are charged for use of the color printer and large print jobs. All community members are charged for photocopies, but photocopiers are equipped to scan items to email for free. Faculty and staff are provided with very limited budgets for paper, ink, and copying, and as a result most materials are distributed electronically. Public printers default to double-sided 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:

Students and faculty use a portal through which students can access materials which can be read electronically, reducing printed materials. We print a limited number of course catalogs, as the course descriptions and schedules are listed primarily online. Course schedules are available online. Newsletters and other publications are disseminated electronically, and the college's magazine is available online and in print. Faculty and staff directories are updated online each term.

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

We have a move-out program that helps students donate and recycle their unwanted items. A college vehicle picks up materials from off-campus housing as well as on-campus drop-off locations. At the end of the school year the "free box" contents are sorted, cleaned, and donated to local thrift shops. We also have a crew of students that goes through the dorms in advance of the cleaning crews to collect reusable items for their own use or for donation.

While no special program is in place for move-in waste, recycling receptacles are available on campus for students to use and are located in/near the dorms. We provide additional recycling and composting containers near student residences in the last week of the school year and do extra pick-ups in order to manage the increase in volume. The college also has a "free box" where students can donate (and find) unwanted items.

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

After breakfast, most of the yogurt containers used are destined for the trash because plastic #5 cannot be recycled locally. However, the kitchen team discovered that the containers are fit for food storage, and the containers are made available to students, faculty, and staff for the transportation of leftovers. Containers are kept in the common rooms of each residence and are used by everyone in the house for purposes of food storage and transportation.

Manufactures of newer white goods and laboratory equipment have take-back programs for our equipment. The dining services use minimal disposable diningware and only by request. The buildings and grounds crew have re-use boxes for wood, metal, and other building materials.

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.