Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.05
Liaison Yumiko Jakobcic
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Grand Valley State University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.15 / 5.00 Yumiko Jakobcic
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability Practices
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 522.70 Tons 396 Tons
Materials composted 481 Tons 0 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 62.80 Tons 5.50 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,056 Tons 1,567 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 5,997 5,662
Number of residential employees 24 25
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 23,899.50 23,674
Full-time equivalent of employees 2,372 1,879
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 676 371.50

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2013 June 30, 2014
Baseline Year July 1, 2005 June 30, 2006

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

We started waste diversion in 1990, but we selected FY2006 as our baseline year because that is when we began our more robust record-keeping as part of our participation in the nationwide RecycleMania competition.

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

An annual waste audit is conducted either in Housing or Academic buildings. Numerous athletic events are also audited by student volunteers and staff, including all of the home football games.

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

Our surplus store is rethinking the way the GVSU community disposes of its unused materials. When items have reached the end of their lifecycle or are no longer needed, we collect them from the GVSU community and make them available for sale at our retail store. Our goal is to reduce the overall amount of University materials that go to a landfill. When we find items that cannot be reused, we look to recycle them. Some items, such as electronics or hazardous materials, require special handling. We continually work with vendors/partners to ensure all the byproducts of recycling are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. On average 1,200 lbs. of RCRA hazardous waste is disposed of as well as 52 lbs. of universal waste in Facilities Services. Other waste disposed of includes medical waste, state of Michigan regulated industrial waste, DOT-Regulated waste and Non-Regulated Solids. Facilities Services maintains its status as a conditionally exempt small quality generator (CESQG). GVSU is also active in a Tier II Reporting System which benefits its local first responders by providing them all the necessary information of hazardous substances within its possession to lessen the risk of placing one of our heroes in danger.

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

GVSU has a printer cartridge exchange program, a surplus store which sells gently used items, and is also replacing mercury-containing lab equipment/devices with non-mercury materials which are then recycled.

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

The course catalog, annual class schedule, and faculty/staff directory are available online. A much smaller quantity is available in print than years past. Institutional Marketing's web team also creates paperless processes for various university departments and organizations. This service is offered to any interested department who would like to find a way to use technology to decrease the amount of paper it uses. In one year, that team developed six new programs which saved over 500,000 sheets of paper.

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

We have implemented a print management solution for three of our campus buildings and are expanding from there. All printers currently default to double-sided printing.

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

During move-in, open top recycling containers are set up to collect cardboard and prevent it from being sent to the landfill. During move-out, Project Donation allows students to give their unwanted clothing, furniture, small appliances, and unopened packaged food to local non-profits rather than the landfill.

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

Our zero-waste initiative has been instituted at football games and indoor basketball and volleyball games. We also have a Surplus Store which was created to reduce environmental impact by engaging in sustainable practices by providing items that have reached the end of their shelf life for sale to the general public, preventing them from going directly to the landfill.

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

Food waste audits were conducted at The Connection and Kleiner to determine the composition of compost, landfill, and recycling streams and presented at manager meetings in an effort to improve upon waste sorting and diversion efforts. There is also a student "Green Team" which provides education on waste sorting and assists with waste audits after zero waste events.

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:

A system of food management fundamental and waste reduction is used to minimize food waste and maximize efficiency. The Food Management Fundamentals system consists of the following steps: 1. Planning: forecasting customers and portions; 2. Product: purchasing compliance; SKU consolidation and reduction; 3. Production: using production sheets and standard recipes and tracking waste; 4. Post Analysis: using past results to inform future forecasts.

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

The use of trays at Fresh Food Company was eliminated to reduce energy, water and detergent use. This resulted in saving 1,619,000 gallons of water froom 2007-2008. In addition, we have installed more efficient dishwashers in at least two of our dining locations that will save additional resources on top of the original study. An audit was conducted at Fresh Food Company to track consumer waste as a percentage of food served. The results aided in helping the Green Team promote consumer waste minimization efforts at the dining location.

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):

The Fresh Food dining location offers a reusable to-go program. This program allows customers to purchase a meal to take home in a reusable container and bring it back to us to wash and exchange it for a new container during their next meal. Compostable clamshell to-go containers are offered at applicable dining locations. Compostable containers are made from Ingeo plastic and are BPI-certified compostable.

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):

Reusable dining ware is available at Engrained and Fresh Food Company to reduce the need for disposable to-go containers.

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:

$1 coffee and pop refills are available at all Campus Dining locations. $.25 water refills are available at all Campus Dining locations.

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

Campus Dining participates in Zero-Waste football games and catering events. Volunteers at the hosted event help guests in sorting their waste into the proper compost, landfill and recycling receptacles in order to maximize the waste diversion rate. Grand Valley was ranked second in the nation for waste minimization in the National Game Day Challenge for Zero-Waste football games.

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

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.