Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 54.46
Liaison Audrey McSain
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Lehigh University
IN-25: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Katharine Targett Gross
Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Development of Comprehensive Waste Management Plan, Policy, and Data Tracking System

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

From April 2016 to January 2017 Lehigh developed a comprehensive waste management plan, policy, and data tracking system (see below attachments) to gain a complete understanding of all 30 streams on campus so that we can better integrate a full life cycle approach into campus purchasing, decision making, and trash and recycling operations. This is innovative because not many schools are closely tracking this many streams, in this level of detail, and working across disciplines in a multi-department effort.

To develop the comprehensive waste management plan, policy, and data tracking system, a committee was formed, which was led by Facilities Services and the Office of Sustainability. The committee consists of members from multiple, key departments on campus including Purchasing, Dining Services, Environmental Health & Safety, Student Auxiliary Services, Community Service Office, Printing & Mailing Services, Transportation Services, and Residential Services.

The purpose of creating the comprehensive waste management plan, policy, and data tracking system was three-fold. First, to provide complete information about the 30 existing campus waste and recycling streams, responsible parties and duties, data collection and reporting, and operational guidance, as well as detail waste diversion goals and provide recommendations for achieving those goals. Second, to allow us to have a better understanding of the life cycle of each of our streams on campus. This allows us to view our 30 streams more holistically so we can better integrate elimination, reduction, reuse, and recovery into campus purchasing, decision making, and trash and recycling operations. This is innovative because it is allowing us to inform future decision making regarding trash and recycling practices on campus as well as better develop targeted behavior change strategies among faculty, staff, and students to further improve our waste diversion rate. Third, to break down silos among key responsible parties and departments and to enable data sharing and analysis to take place for all 30 of the streams. No other university that we know of is tracking this many streams, at this level of detail. Additionally, Lehigh is taking it a step further than other universities and is making this a multi department effort, working as closely with the key departments and responsible parties for each stream, as possible. This allows for a greater level of accuracy and transparency with the data. As a result, Facilities Services has been better able to make connections among the various streams in order to make additional institutional progress toward Lehigh's waste diversion goals.

Through a multi-department effort like this, Lehigh was able to build a comprehensive view of campus waste management and diversion efforts and is able to track progress at a granular and high level. This allows the campus sustainability community to break down silos between departments, make connections, enhance the culture of sustainability across campus departments, and build bridges to further progress toward Lehigh’s waste diversion goals. This demonstrates a significant impact compared to more conventional planning processes on campus.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Campus Enagement
Coordination & Planning

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The additional documentation uploaded above includes the comprehensive data master tracking sheet as well as the full waste management plan.

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.