Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.69
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Emory University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.89 / 8.00 Taylor Spicer
Assistant Director
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 2,732.62 Tons 2,217.99 Tons
Materials composted 2,216.25 Tons 1,698.29 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 282.77 Tons 659.84 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 3,502.02 Tons 5,638.07 Tons
Total waste generated 8,733.66 Tons 10,214.19 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period Sept. 1, 2018 Aug. 31, 2019
Baseline Period Sept. 1, 2015 Aug. 31, 2016

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

In 2005, Emory's first Sustainability Vision was developed, using 2005, the first year that reliable data were available, as a baseline for all quantitative goals.

In April of 2015, Emory adopted a new Sustainability Vision & Strategic Plan, 2025, which set 2015 as a baseline year for Emory's goal to reach 95% diversion from landfills by 2025. Therefore, the baseline year for STARS reporting has been updated to FY16 to reflect this alignment.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 4,479 4,352
Number of employees resident on-site 16 24
Number of other individuals resident on-site 712 702
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 15,214 13,507
Full-time equivalent of employees 16,664 14,521
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 85 9
Weighted campus users 25,680.50 22,810.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.34 Tons 0.45 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 Yes
White goods (i.e. appliances) Yes
Electronics 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:

Batteries, aerosols, lamps, vehicles, medical equipment, inkjet & toner cartridges, and wood waste. Of these items, only cartridges, medical equipment, vehicles and wood waste are included in the data for this credit. Batteries, aerosols and lamps are considered to be universal waste, and therefore are not counted in this credit.

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year:

Does the institution use single stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:

Each year, Emory Recycles and the Office of Sustainability Initiatives organize a recycling competition between all buildings, and awards a $3,000 prize for the winner to spend on dedicated recycling equipment for the building. The winner is determined as the building with the greatest increase in recyclable and compostable materials by weight between the current and last November.

Additionally, all recycling, composting and landfill bins are labeled and accompanied by visual signs that depict what should be placed in each bin. The bins, labels and collection bags are standardized and color-coded in building interiors and exteriors - blue bins for recycling, green for composting, and black for landfill. The OSI hands out clings, which provide prompts about printing less, taking fewer paper towels, turning off the lights, and turning off the faucet, and other waste minimization and sustainability practices.

The Zero Waste Ambassadors program is a peer-to-peer educational efforts led by the OSI to train staff, faculty and students from across the enterprise to educate their campus networks about waste reduction and diversion at Emory.

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

Emory Recycles conducts physical sorting waste audits as needed in different areas of campus. Visual audits are used on a daily basis by Building & Residential Services staff who service the bins. They record information about their audit and volume of the waste overall utilizing an app.

A consultant team completed a comprehensive campus-wide assessment of all university materials management systems and recently reported its assessment findings. Their methodology included visual audits of waste bins in various generate areas e.g. buildings with similar functions. The audits informed the Materials Management Master Plan produced for recommendations on how to move toward Emory's goal of 95% landfill diversion by 2025.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

The Procurement office works closely with the Office of Sustainability Initiatives to reduce waste and work toward achieving all of Emory's sustainability goals. Just-in-time purchasing processes are followed, sustainability language is included throughout the Procurement department website, and purchasers are provided with sustainable alternatives to products in Emory's purchasing program whenever possible. Emory is a founding member of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, which influences national sustainable purchasing best practices and facilitates procurement sustainability learning from all institutional sectors.

The Procurement Office and Office of Sustainability Initiatives collaborated on a number of waste-reduction initiatives, including: 1) a ban on Styrofoam products from suppliers and the online purchasing marketplace, requiring alternatives to be made available at competitive price points; 2)right-size packaging for shipping to avoid overuse of packaging materials; 3) working with coffee and tea vendors on analyzing the waste impacts of single-use coffee and tea machines, and finding alternatives that produce waste that can be composted in Emory's waste management system; 4) requesting that all caterers offer a zero landfill waste program on Emory's campus. The Procurement office supports many facets of sustainability practices employed across Emory University:

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

Emory’s Surplus Property, a department of the Campus Services Division, provides the resale, liquidation, salvage or donation of University-owned surplus furniture, equipment and vehicles. When an Emory department is no longer able to use furniture, equipment or vehicles due to the physical condition, lack of technological capability or inefficiency of operation, Surplus Property can sell the item(s) to another Emory department, to Emory faculty, staff or students, liquidate the item(s), or salvage the item(s).

Emory's Green Lab program rewards labs that facilitate the reuse of supplies and chemicals between laboratories, and the Chemistry department utilizes a stock room for chemicals and supplies which incorporates redistribution and reuse of unused or partially used items.

Emory's Green Offices program rewards offices that prioritize the reuse of office equipment and furniture, and use equipment to the full extent of its lifetime.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:

Emory Surplus supports the prudent disposition of surplus furniture, equipment and vehicles, which are property of Emory University, by facilitating the resale, liquidation, salvage or donation of such items. Emory students, faculty and staff are able to purchase the resale items at low cost.


A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:

Admissions offices at Emory have moved to all on-line systems which reduces ink and paper. Emory has an on-line course catalog, and most divisions use on-line course evaluations.

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

Course registration at Emory is online only. There is no paper alternative. All course schedules and directories can be found online, as well as course catalogs in the various schools. In general practice, most schools only provide these items to students in hard copy on request or in the main office. Emory College recently decided that the College Course Catalog would no longer be printed in paper and is only available online.

The School of Medicine, which oversees the M.D. program as well as other Allied Health programs, moved two years ago to making all materials only available online. The School of Nursing only prints course catalogs on request, otherwise students are directed to an online version. Several of Emory's academic units use online course evaluations rather that paper evaluations.

Emory's Green Office program rewards offices for taking voluntary steps to make offices more sustainable, which includes reducing paper consumption by making materials available online and utilizing online subscriptions for publications.

Most of Emory's publications are available in online format, and the Emory mobile app and website includes an online directory, maps, news, calendar, course catalog, and transit maps.

Emory's staff orientation materials are only available online, and new staff must complete these readings and forms and submit online when they are hired.

The doctoral program in Physical Therapy anticipates that this year's incoming students will be a part of the program's first "green class". They have begun by eliminating paper orientation and course materials, encouraging students to use electronic information when possible.

All employees can opt in to receiving their tax forms electronically and to have their paychecks direct deposited, rather than printed and cut as physical checks. If a department's employee does receive physical checks, a department is charged for the expense of processing and printing a physical check.

Through an OSI Incentives Fund grant, the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts Center was also able to pilot a new paperless ticketing system in 2018.

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

In addition to normal ongoing Emory recycling and composting services in all residence hall, during move-in and move-out, cardboard and Styrofoam collection areas are placed outside every residence hall during move-in and move-out. Prior to arrival, first-year students receive move-in directions, which suggest ways to reduce waste before arriving on campus and ways to divert waste once students arrive. During move-out, Emory Recycles, in partnership with Housing, ResLife and the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, holds a "Don't Dump It, Donate It!" drive. This drive gives students an opportunity to donate items such as clothes, bedding, and furniture for which they no longer have use to local Atlanta charities. For about a week, large trucks are stationed in different locations around campus to collect large and small donation items, composting, recycling, and landfill items. During the most recent move-out (2019), a total of 60,015 pounds (30 tons) of donations were collected, 50.81 tons were recycled and 5.65 tons were composted. The 30 tons of donations included 28,648 pounds of clothing, 4,529 pounds of books, 2,259 pounds of supplies, 5,876 pounds of furniture, and 3,550 pounds of food, and 15,153 pounds of miscellaneous goods. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation ,which received the proceeds from the collection and sale of donated items.

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

Emory Recycles has partnered with local companies to minimize landfill waste coming from unique sources, such as cooking oil, which is converted into fuel for our shuttles. Batteries, aerosols, bulbs and lamps, ink and toner cartridges, packing Styrofoam, and glass, which is hard to recycle in local markets unless separated, are all collected at a hard-to-recycle station located in most major buildings. Emory Recycles has also partnered with various departments such as the library's preservation department, to find ways to recycle the unique waste that comes from those departments.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data reported for 2018-2019 fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.


Despite insecurity about the validity of the waste data coming from Emory's healthcare facilities, AASHE recommended that Emory "report the best waste figures you have for the healthcare facilities . . . . [I]f the healthcare facilities are included in the institutional boundary, the rule of thumb is that some data for those facilities is better than no waste data at all. . . ." Therefore, available data for the Emory University Hospital, the Emory University Hospital Tower, and The Emory Clinic are all included in this credit.

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.