Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Tavey Capps
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Duke University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Tavey Capps
Environmental Sustainability Director
Office of the Executive Vice President
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 5,587.77 Tons 3,983.98 Tons
Materials composted 442.26 Tons 366 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 9,480.21 Tons 9,998.52 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 5,300 5,207
Number of residential employees 0 0
Number of in-patient hospital beds 957 957
Full-time equivalent enrollment 14,850 14,591
Full-time equivalent of employees 30,472 28,752
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 0 0

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2013 June 30, 2014
Baseline Year July 1, 2011 June 30, 2012

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

The Campus Sustainability Committee, comprised of students, faculty and staff, adopted this baseline for consistency and ability to track data retroactively based on new definitions of what was included in the baseline.

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

During FY’14 students completed no fewer than 10 waste audits on academic, administrative, and residential buildings. Waste placed in trash bins was evaluated to understand how much of the material could be recycled and/or composted.

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

Duke Green Purchasing policy has a section focused on source reduction -
Reducing unnecessary waste at the source allows the University to both mitigate the inefficient use of our natural resources and benefit economically from decreased handling and disposal costs.

Procurement activity may include:

- Institute practices that reduce waste, resulting in the purchase of fewer products whenever practicable and cost-effective, but without reducing safety or workplace quality.
- Purchase remanufactured products such as laser toner cartridges, tires, furniture, equipment and automotive parts whenever practicable, but without reducing safety, quality or effectiveness.
- Consider short-term and long-term costs in comparing product alternatives. Include evaluation of total costs expected during the time a product is owned, including, but not limited to, acquisition, extended warranties, operation, supplies, maintenance, disposal costs and expected lifetime compared to other alternatives.
- Purchase products that are durable, long lasting, reusable or refillable.
- Request that vendors eliminate packaging or use the minimum amount necessary for product protection to the greatest extent practicable.
- Request packaging that is reusable, recyclable or compostable when suitable uses and programs exist.
- Reuse pallets and packaging materials.
- Require that all equipment bought after the adoption of this Policy, when practicable, be compatible with products and services that provide source reduction benefits.


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

Duke University and Health System has a formalized surplus property program, whereby all Duke-purchased property and supplies, including furniture, electronics, medical equipment and office supplies are collected, refurbished (if necessary) and offered to Duke Departments and non-profits at no charge.

FY14 data -
- Internal: 3,309 items donated back into Duke
- External: 9,410 items to non-profits


Duke Recycles offers free surplus office supplies to faculty, staff, and students. Donations from employees and students cleaning out their offices are collected and organized in the Duke Recycles facility.

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

"The Office of the University Registrar at Duke University currently produces ten course catalogs each year and "The Duke Community Standard in Practice; A Guide for Undergraduates ," which are all available online in PDF format. Only two of these documents are available and distributed as printed publications. The student directory, class schedules, class lists, and grade rosters are not printed, and are instead available online as needed. The Office of the University Registrar makes available the options of online transcript ordering and distribution for current students.”

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

Changes to ePrint quota system effective Aug. 15
Based on recommendations from Duke Student Government and Students for Sustainable Living, Duke's Office of Information Technology is making changes to the ePrint student quota system, which is designed to encourage reasonable, sustainable printing habits.

Duke students receive an allocation of $32 per semester in black-and-white laser printing at OIT's ePrint stations in libraries, computer labs, and public spaces. If your balance falls below $9, you can request an increase to your printing allocation of $8. Undergraduate students may request this increase only once per semester. If you exhaust your allocation, your print jobs will be charged to your FLEX account at $0.04 per sheet.

The free allotment is the equivalent of 1,000 sheets (or 2,000 sheets if you print double-sided) per semester per student. The per-sheet rate is based on OIT calculations of the actual cost of printing.

The recommendations for these quotas and fees were developed by Duke's Students for Sustainable Living, with the goal of reducing students' impact on the environment and decreasing Duke's role in the overconsumption of trees and the energy and water used in the production of paper. Those recommendations were approved by the Duke Student Government Senate in April 2014.


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

During the two weeks of student move-in, Duke Recycles collects and processes tons of cardboard as students return to campus. Corrals are constructed of orange construction fencing in convenient and centralized locations for students to bring their moving boxes once emptied. Prior to Move-In flyers, explaining the process, (about flattening boxes and removing debris) are distributed to Residence Life and Housing Services for dissemination.

During Move-Out Duke Sanitation and Recycling (DSRS) partners with Housing, Dining and Residence Life to identify areas in each dorm where students can leave items for donation. DSRS works with local non-profits to set up a collection time for each of these locations.

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

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

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:

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

Trays were removed from Duke University residential dining facilities in 2008.

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):

Eco-clam shell containers made of environmentally-friendly polypropylene are sold for $5. When an owner drops off the to-go container to be cleaned and sanitized, he or she receives a keychain token that can be turned in for a replacement clamshell. In January 2010, the first 200 containers were given away as an incentive to join the program.
Currently clam shells can be used at 3 large food vendors on campus, the Loop, Grace's, and Quenchers. The clam shell program used to be active at the Great Hall, Duke's largest food vendor and dining hall. This year, however, the Great Hall is undergoing renovation. Duke intends to continue the clam shell program in the Great Hall once it reopens.

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):

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:

20% discounts are offered to customers using any reusable mug for a coffee or fountain drink. Additionally, reusable mugs are sold in all retail locations with coffee drinks on Duke University campus.

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

The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization initiatives is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

Baseline used for Duke waste and recycling data - FY12

Baseline used for Duke waste and recycling data - FY12

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.