Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Jennifer Asman
Submission Date March 23, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Georgia State University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Laurene Hamilton
Recycling Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 262.35 Tons 121.70 Tons
Materials composted 105.70 Tons 0 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 3.20 Tons 2.20 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,287.50 Tons 1,392.50 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 9,181 8,425
Number of residential employees 0 0
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 78,001 77,823
Full-time equivalent of employees 4,055 3,827
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 283 283

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year May 12, 2013 May 11, 2014
Baseline Year May 12, 2012 May 11, 2013

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

The 2012 waste generation baseline was adopted as this is the first year where comprehensive waste generation data for all streams was collected.

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

Waste audits are completed once every other year by the Recycling Coordinator and the University Recycling Staff and volunteers.

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


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

Surplus Operations takes used items that university departments no longer want or use. Items such as outdated computers, furniture, and all electronic equipment (including printers, copiers, as well as scientific equipment). The used equipment is either resold online through DOAS surplus or the equipment is picked up and reused by faculty and staff. Items posted through DOAS surplus are sold to those in the state of Georgia, and equipment is also posted on sites such as Ebay and govsales.com, where consumers can bid on them. The surplus operations process begins with a university department submitting a request form to facilities. Surplus operations then picks up the item(s). Surplus operations will process the item(s) and evaluates the resale value or uses electronic recycling. The Surplus warehouse is open to GSU faculty and staff but is used for office use only.

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

The materials are printed and available online on the Office of Sustainability website - sustainability.gsu.edu. Additionally, where able, the University utilizes the Waste Watcher XL bins with option attachable signage to specifically depict acceptable recyclables.

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

All students and employees pay 5 cents for printing double sided and 8 cents for single sided printing.

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

Each semester during residence move out, we are able to divert thousands of pounds of textiles, clothing, shoes, appliances, furniture and other miscellaneous items from landfills while supporting the local community. The Recycling Services staff of GSU Facilities Management Building Services provides bins for collection of many items (textiles, electronics, food, shoes, furniture, as well as traditional items for recycling - paper, plastic, aluminum).

Our business partner, Community Recycling, has resources and convenient pickup/collections services to assist us with recycling non-traditional items. For details about accepted items and GSU’s Move-in/Move-out recovery contact lhamilton@gsu.edu.

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

University Departments make concerted efforts to streamline processes and employ strategies to decrease waste. The Intensive English Program of the Georgia State University Department of Applied Linguistics and ESL has implemented a program called sunapsis. Its integrated system will allow our international students to go paperless in their required form submissions thereby automating batch creation for editing data based on data imported from our institutional systems (i.e. Banner or PeopleSoft).

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

In the September of 2014, the GSU Dining Services organized a “Weigh Your Waste “ campaign on campus to raise awareness on food waste in the campus dining halls. The goal of this awareness campaign was to minimize food waste in the dining halls.
Currently Panther Dining Halls offer two plate sizes to their patrons: an 8.5 square inch plate and a 10.75 square inch plate. While the smaller plate is a sufficient size for meals, many students still use the large plates, loading them with food and creating unnecessary food waste. Determined to educate dining hall patrons on the excessive food waste associated with overloading their plates, a plate waste study was conducted at our resident Dining Halls. Volunteers asked dining hall patrons to weigh their finished
plates. To ensure accuracy of the food waste weight, excess napkins and silverware were removed and the scale was adjusted for the weight of the bowl or plate being weighed. A digital portion scale was used to measure and record individual weights. Plate waste totals were recorded weekly and a total was calculated at the end of the month. Total waste for the month of September equaled 60884.22 lbs. To keep dining hall patrons mindful of their waste, posters declaring monthly plate waste totals and tips to reduce food waste were placed around each dining hall.

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:

Our GSU Dining Services implements the LeanPath system to assist in pre-consumer waste minimization and reduce food costs. LeanPath assists with menu planning, sourcing local foods, and maximizing food preparation resources. LeanPath weighs all pre-consumer food waste, generates reports on results and guides managers and employees on suggested ways to waste less. Compared to November 2009 baseline, to date, our waste avoidance= 42,650 pounds of food or $46,096.00 which has resulted in 16 metric tons of diverted CO2.

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

Our GSU Dining Services use an Insinkerator or SOMAT machine in the dining halls to dispose, extract and pulp pre-consumer and post-consumer waste into a confetti like mixture. This mixture is sold to a company called Closed Loop that combines this reach organic matter with vegetative waste, yard waste and wood waste to create a high quality organic compost with zero landfill contribution or re-sale. Additionally, we use Tork napkins with EcoLogo (3rd party certification) which is a compostable material napkin. A one-at-a-time dispensing unit reduces paper usage and waste. Our Dining Halls also switched to Bulk Condiments dispensers minimizes plastic bottle usage and waste. This has resulted in a avg annual savings of $9,084.29 per year. It also decreases labor required to marry partial bottles together while eliminating a tedious employee task.

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):


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):

GSU Dining Halls use reusable cutlery, glassware, plates and has trayless services in all of our resident dining halls. Removing trays reduces food waste by 25-30% per person and conserves almost 1900 liters of water annually. This effort also decreases the amount of single use disposable waste going into the local landfills; saves on costs of energy, water, detergents and rinse aids; eliminates cost of disposable cutlery, glassware, plates and trays; and reduces food waste removal costs.

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:

Customers receive a 10% discount on their drink in the centennial cafe when they bring their own mug.

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

Our GSU Dining Halls recycle all cardboard, mixed paper, plastic and aluminum in all of our resident dining locations.

The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization initiatives is available:

We do not have reported data from the company providing previous years food waste diversion. Newly acquired technology (SOMAT) and better company relations with the current food waste diversion provider has yielded more accurate data collection.

The Office of Sustainability is currently devising a University Strategic plan with core recycling goals and benchmarks.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.