Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.78
Liaison Amber Saxton
Submission Date Sept. 1, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

George Mason University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.42 / 8.00 Mary Liang
Sustainability Analyst
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 697.90 Tons 697.01 Tons
Materials composted 0.50 Tons 45.48 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 29.80 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 2,128.34 Tons 5,126.13 Tons
Total waste generated 2,856.54 Tons 5,868.62 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, 2015 June 30, 2016
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2009 Jan. 1, 2009

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):

The baseline year was adopted based on it being Mason's peak year for waste production.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 6,216 4,996
Number of employees resident on-site 77 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 25 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 28,019 22,430
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 4,321.40 3,767.30
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 816 0
Weighted campus users 25,241.55 20,896.98

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.11 Tons 0.28 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) No

A brief description of other materials the institution has recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold:

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:

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:

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

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

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

George Mason University collects surplus equipment and furniture from departments all over campus. Reusable equipment and furniture are stored at the warehouse to be redistributed to any Mason department. After a period of time, the items get auctioned and the proceeds go to the state.

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):

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):

George Mason University's Print Services has recently partnered with Canon for follow-me printing which eliminates automatic printing, and requires all student, faculty, and staff to release print jobs at any kiosk on campus. These printers are also defaulted for double-sided printing. The university anticipates this new partnership to decrease the amount of unnecessary printing and paper usage across campus.

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:

George Mason University is a state institution of higher education within Virginia. As such, Mason follows and implements executive orders enacted by the Governor of Virginia. Within Virginia Executive Order 19 (2010) it states Virginia’s government must set the example in its use of all resources. Every effort should be made for publications of the executive branch agencies and institutions to be published in electronic form only, unless there is a statutory or regulatory requirement to the contrary, or a substantial portion of the intended recipients of the publication cannot be reached electronically. Many professors have started adopting paperless courses that use online resources like Blackboard rather than bringing printed materials to class.

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

In order to facilitate waste reduction at George Mason University (Mason), the Office of Community Relations, Office of Recycling and Waste Management, and Housing and Residential Life, instituted an end-of-year move-out recycling program called Patriot Pack Out. Through this streamlined, low cost, volunteer outreach program, resident students who are leaving for the summer are encouraged to conveniently donate unwanted clothes and appliances, as well as unopened food items, which are delivered to charities benefitting our local community. In the past, these items would have just been left behind in the residence halls for university waste management staff to clear, attempt to separate, and haul to appropriate locations.

In 2017, the program's tenth year, Mason collected a total of 14,600 pounds of recyclable materials from the Patriot Pack Out Program. From this collection, the university donated approximately 2,000 pounds of food to Food for Others. The university also donated 12,600 pounds of clothing and small appliances to the Goodwill of Greater Washington, providing 388 hours of free job training and education programs for individuals with disabilities and disadvantages. Goodwill estimated a revenue value of $12,650 will go towards their programs benefitting the greater Washington area.

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

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

Data is for FY16. Previous reports, including the baseline data, documents waste data in calendar year (Jan - Dec). This 2017 report documents data in fiscal year (July - June) to remain consistent throughout the report.

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.