Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.79
Liaison Yumiko Jakobcic
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Grand Valley State University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.74 / 8.00 Yumiko Jakobcic
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability Practices
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 617.50 Tons 396 Tons
Materials composted 1401.60 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 176.20 Tons 5.50 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1286.10 Tons 1567 Tons
Total waste generated 3481.40 Tons 1968.50 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, 2017 June 30, 2018
Baseline Year July 1, 2005 June 30, 2006

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):

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.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 6012 5662
Number of employees resident on-site 23 25
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 24707 23674
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 2568 1879
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 1514 371.50
Weighted campus users 20829.50 20307.88

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.17 Tons 0.10 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:

Computers and e-waste.

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:

Routine waste audits are conducted in housing, academic, and dining buildings. Numerous athletic events are also audited by student volunteers and staff, including all of the home football games.

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

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 the institution's 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 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):

All printers currently default to double-sided printing.

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:

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 the institution's program 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 the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:

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.

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

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.