Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.20
Liaison Kimberly Williams
Submission Date March 5, 2020

STARS v2.2

George Washington University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.13 / 8.00 Kris Ferguson
Recycle Coordinator
Facility 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 450 Tons 713.70 Tons
Materials composted 210 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 221 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 2,780 Tons 3,128.30 Tons
Total waste generated 3,661 Tons 3,842 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 July 1, 2018 June 30, 2019
Baseline Period July 1, 2005 June 30, 2006

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

The 2005 baseline was pre-determined through the STARS 1.2 version, which was submitted by GW in 2014. However, as of April 17, 2017, GW updated the baseline to match internal reporting for FY06 so that STARS reporting is consistent with GW reporting. For FY17, GW also updated the compost metric to include Yard Waste. GW's FY17 reported compost metric includes: bio-fuels, food waste from Mount Vernon Campus and Foggy Bottom Campus and yard waste, whereas previous years did not include yard waste. In FY17, the recycling metric included 44.4 tons of electronic waste.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 7,477 6,885
Number of employees resident on-site 37 23
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 22,123 19,509
Full-time equivalent of employees 5,902 5,037
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 2,084 500
Weighted campus users 21,334.25 19,761.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.17 Tons 0.19 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
Electronics Yes
Laboratory equipment Yes
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires No
Other (please specify below) Yes

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

Textiles/clothing donations.

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:

Housekeepers and Collection staff monitor before disposal.

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

GW provides signage on trash and recycling across campus on all waste receptacles, and posts the information online. Through the student led Eco-Rep program, GW students educate their peers on how to recycle and facilitate competition between residence halls.

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

In 2018 and 2019, a Waste Audit was performed by SCS Engineers.

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

GW's Office of Sustainability and Procurement Department have partnered to implement a sustainable paper procurement program which stipulates that all office print & copy paper procured by GW employees through "iBuy", GW's internal online purchasing system for most of the university's major purchase categories, must contain at least 30% recycled fiber content.

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

GW's Reuse Program continues to grow both internally and externally. We repurpose office furniture throughout the university in an effort to upgrade furniture, divert items from landfills, and be fiscally sustainable. Any furniture not able to be reused within the university is donated to local charities and non-profits as a means to support their missions and assist those in need.

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

The George Washington University has adopted a zero waste approach--reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills while increasing recycling, reuse, and composting. The university has hired staff to address this effort, and we are seeing results with a decrease in waste to landfill and an increase in recycling. In 2014, GW introduced permanent clothing donation bins on campus and has been increasing the amount of clothing diverted from the landfill every year since. In the Spring of 2019, with support from the Urban Sustainability Directors’ Network and the District Department of Energy and Environment, GW launched an education and awareness campaign to improve students’ knowledge of how to properly treat clothing and other textiles when they no longer want them. The tactics of the project included a social media educational campaign to encourage behavior change, and clothing swap events to inspire students to take action. We learned that increased educational efforts did in fact increase understanding of textile waste issues and resulted in greater volume of textiles diverted from the landfill.

Students have continued to demonstrate passion for finding solutions to this challenge. At the 2019 DC Climathon hackathon event a team of student innovators developed an idea to create a permanent on-campus "thrift store" where students can trade used clothing and other textiles.

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

After a $30 credit, students pay per sheet for printing. The University adjusted the cost model for printing in fall 2017 to incentivize double-sided printing. This change was made in collaboration with the Student Association and the launch of their Campaign to Save a Million, which encouraged students and faculty to print double-sided whenever possible. After two years of the price model in place, black & white (BW) double-sided printing has increased to 48% for FY 2019, over 36% in FY 2017. The total number of BW printed sides has decreased by 600,000 sides between FY17 and FY19.

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

In general, all of our academic information is provided online. It is only when limited, special courses occur that we provide materials in print.

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

A well-established and award-winning program called Green Move-out is conducted each year. The objective is to collect a wide-variety of items (e.g., food, bedding, clothes) that students would otherwise leave behind in their residence hall rooms as waste and to transfer them off campus to many charities in an organized manner. The university attempts to track in a quantitative way what is collected through this program to contribute to the campus diversion rate. In FY 19 GW donated more than 32 tons of clothing, books, non-perishable food items, and household goods during move out.

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

GW recycles e-waste including light bulbs, electronics, and batteries as described in the hazardous waste section.

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


GW published its Zero Waste Plan in Fall 2016. It provides:
1. An overview of GW’s current waste management infrastructure;
2. A discussion of the challenges and proposed methods for achieving the targets
laid out in the GW Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy to become a zero waste institution;
3. University and financial commitments needed to achieve Zero Waste goals; and
4. Appendices.


Regarding materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, GW has total numbers for re-use but its not known what percent is re-used on campus vs what percent goes to our charity vendors who re-use the materials off campus.


Green Move-Out

Recycled Content Paper Procurement

Double-Sided Printing Initiative

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.