Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.19
Liaison Emma Blandford
Submission Date March 2, 2021

STARS v2.2

Georgia Institute of Technology
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.89 / 8.00 Anne Rogers
Sustainability Program & Portfolio Manager
Office of Campus Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 2,959.36 Tons 608 Tons
Materials composted 452.32 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 253.25 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 8,656.05 Tons 7,799 Tons
Total waste generated 12,320.98 Tons 8,407 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 Jan. 1, 2020 Dec. 31, 2020
Baseline Period Jan. 1, 2007 Dec. 31, 2007

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:
The baseline year, 2007, was adopted because it was the first year there was a substantial collection of data for waste.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 10,070 9,184
Number of employees resident on-site 307 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site 9 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 25,447 18,741
Full-time equivalent of employees 7,795 6,311
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 11,738 0
Weighted campus users 18,731.25 21,085

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.66 Tons 0.40 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
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:
Campus buildings collect mixed paper, cardboard, plastic containers, glass, and aluminum cans using a source separated program, while the Residence Halls recycle these items using single stream. Styrofoam and plastic film are being piloted and collected through non-traditional recycling programs. Food scraps, compostable packaging and landscape material are composted. Donated materials include clothing, food, office supplies and furniture. Campus furniture and electronics are resold.

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:
Source separated material: 2-3%

Single Stream: 33% (only in housing)

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:
The Student Government Association Sustainability Committee leads the Get Wasteless program in April. During the program, students log their waste production, attend events to learn about zero-waste living, and receive reusable items to help decrease personal waste. Utilizing Student Engagement Week of Welcome, presentations were conducted to introduce First Year students to recycling and composting on campus.



A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:
In 2020, Georgia Tech participated in the Recycle Mania Race to Zero Waste Building Competition. Part of the program required a waste audit for the building. Additionally, through the Materials Management Conservation Plan, visual waste audits will be conducted.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:
In 2020, Georgia Tech participated in the Recycle Mania Race to Zero Waste Building Competition. Part of the program required a waste audit for the building. Additionally, through the Materials Management Conservation Plan, visual waste audits will be conducted.

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:
Utilizing GTHR’s Buzzin’ Back to School and Students’ Temporary Assistance and Resources (STAR) Program surplus items have been donated to be repurposed. Additionally, an office supply exchange is conducted annually at Georgia Tech’s Earth Day Celebration. Office supplies are dropped off in advance at the Office of Solid Waste Management & Recycling to be inventoried. OSWM&R staff members also pick up office supplies from departments that donate large quantities of materials. At the Earth Day Celebration, students, faculty and staff can shop for free and take what they need.

Surplus: When a Georgia Tech department purchases new furniture or office equipment, what happens to the furniture and equipment that’s no longer needed? Because it is state property, it cannot be sold, surplussed, or transferred from Georgia Tech without the approval of Surplus Property. As a result, many items are held in the Surplus Property area of Procurement and Business Services, located at 711 Marietta Street, until they find a new home.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:
GT Earth Day features a clothing swap for students and event attendees to shop items collected from residence halls and Greek housing. Additionally, items collected during Move-out were redistributed to students at a free thrift shopping event, Georgia Tech Clothing Reuse Giveaway. The giveaway program increases access by providing transportation for students to easily shop.

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:
In March 2010, double-sided printing became the default option for all computers in the library. The result of an initiative led by the library’s Student Advisory Board and the Student Government Association’s Sustainability Task Force, both groups anticipate that this switch to double-sided printing has helped conserve resources.


A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials available online by default rather than printing them:
Being a Technological institution, Georgia Tech has the majority of their materials and publications online. From student registration, course catalogs, reservations, etc

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:
Beginning spring 2014, a student led program called Tech Treasure made it convenient for students to donate unwanted items when they move out so they can be reused. Tech Treasure has Goodwill trucks on campus near the freshman dorms to collect unwanted items as they moved out. The location of the trucks was advertised and they were put in convenient locations for students. To continue the program, Georgia Tech has been focused on finding ways to keep items for reuse on campus to help students gain access to these resources through the Students’ Temporary Assistance and Resources (STAR) Program. Through STAR, students who may not be able to afford new small appliances and clothing can shop the items for free.


A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:
In 2008 Georgia Tech started Game Day Recycling, a program for waste diversion at home football games. Strategies to get people to recycle include handing out blue bags to tailgates that are collected the next day, placing bins on common walking routes, and education to the public. From 2009-2014, 1,200 students have volunteered for Game Day Recycling by standing outside the stadium at gate entries to help people recycle. The program also hands out a "Green Tailgater of the Game" award to encourage recycling. There are also recycling bins inside the stadium and food composting sites inside suites in the stadium along with locations to collect large pieces of cardboard from vendors.

The Silver Leaf program is a campus wide initiative to increase recycling at events for student organizations and administrative bodies. To gain the award of the “Silver Leaf” the event planners need to request recycling containers which will be collected and verified after the event. If this award is granted to an organization or body, one other event throughout the semester needs to be held to maintain the certification.

The AWARE Program was developed in 2009 and is directed at everyone on campus to work on waste minimization. The three components of the program are: green purchasing, waste minimization, and recycling. The AWARE Program found success in numerous buildings on campus and was the standard in waste collection and servicing for any new or renovated building project from 2017-2020. The impacts of COVID-19 created a silver lining for the full expansion of the AWARE Program in August 2020. Now the campus standard in every building, office occupants are required to empty their personal waste into larger communal waste and recycling stations. Thus, alleviating custodial time and increasing sorting and diversion. The program has always been supported by Georgia Tech leadership, starting with former President Bud Peterson and our current President Ángel Cabrera.


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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
The large difference in materials recycled between the baseline and performance years is reflective of improved data collection practices, growth in the campus community, and expansions of recycling program (e.g., greek recycling).

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.