Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 56.88
Liaison Laura Young
Submission Date Feb. 11, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Michigan State University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 5.00 Kris Jolley
MSU Recycling and Surplus Store
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 4,747 Tons 1,571 Tons
Materials composted 2,500 Tons 4,410 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 4,498 Tons 2,000 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 5,727 Tons 7,102 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 16,143 15,305
Number of residential employees 0 0
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 46,159 45,149
Full-time equivalent of employees 11,489 11,061
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 0 0

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2014 June 30, 2015
Baseline Year July 1, 2009 June 30, 2010

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

Comprehensive Surplus & Recycling facility opened in September 2009.

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

Building level waste audits are regularly conducted as a classroom experience. Dumpsters are hand sorted by classes.

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:

The Surplus Store accepts all materials that can be re-sold and/or given away to MSU departments and the public.

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

The official MSU Academic Program and Course Description catalogs are available online via the Office of the Registrar's website. Many departmental communications are now only available online and via email, including newsletters.

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

Public e-token printers limit the amount of free printing on as users pay for their printed pages. Users are charged $0.05 per image.

E-token printers default to two-sided printing to further reduce the amount of paper used.

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

Since 1996, MSU students and staff have been packing up and pitching in during move-out to turn their unwanted items into a valuable material.The program is made possible through partnerships with RHS, MSU Recycling and Surplus, City of East Lansing and local area charitable agencies. Through recycling and donating unwanted items to charities MSU and the City of East Lansing are able to divert materials from the land fill and assist in meeting or exceeding our Be Spartan Green goal decreasing waste by 30% by 2015. Additionally, this program serves as a shining example of MSU’s commitment to sustainability, charitable support, community wide environmental stewardship, and community support and collaboration between MSU, City of East Lansing and local charities.

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


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

The Clean Plates at State food waste program at MSU helps put environmental sustainability into perspective for campus dining hall guests. The program seeks to reduce the amount of food waste on campus through education initiatives and a recurring food waste audit.
In fall 2005, a preliminary food waste audit was conducted in two of the 15 dining halls — one day each at Akers and Brody Dining Halls. Between the two venues, a total of 1,411 lbs. of food was wasted, an average of 4.48 ounces per person.

Since that time, an annual food waste audit has been conducted in the various dining halls on campus, measuring food waste and customer behavior. The food waste audit utilizes electronic scales that weigh each customer's plate subtracting a tare allowance for each type of plate across campus. To view detailed results from the fall 2013 audit: http://eatatstate.com/content/food-waste/fall2013

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:


In partnership with MSU Sustainability, Culinary Services participates in a project that uses worm composting for campus kitchen food preparation residue at the MSU Student Organic Farm in order to close the campus food cycle loop.

Herbs grown at Bailey GREENhouse are grown in soil with composted pre-consumer food waste from Brody Square — closing the loop!

Culinary Services also participates in an anaerobic digestion pilot study at MSU’s Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center. Anaerobic digestion is the breaking down of organic compounds into methane in the absence of oxygen, which creates energy.

The pilot study has two 100 L digesters for a resulting 23,000 tons of biogas, which is equivalent to:

7,700 Hummer H1s OR
242,000 Average Adult Males OR
115 Adult Blue Whales

Sparty's and Starbucks coffee shops on campus also capture coffee grounds for composting at the MSU Student Organic Farm.

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

One dining hall is completely trayless. The other dining halls are marketed and promoted with a voluntary trayless option. Increasingly higher percentages of patrons are choosing trayless options. A recent dining renovation in Brody Square is incorporating design to enhance participation into the voluntary trayless program. Each dining hall features specific marketing tools to promote trayless dining at the tray station and on table tents.

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):

All cafeterias serve meals with real china and silverware that are washed and reused.

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:

Sparty's Convenience Store has a mug that can be purchased for $1.99 and refilled at the discount price of $0.99. Our Concessions Dept has a reusable mug to reduce waste at sporting events.

All River Walk Market residents (725) received a FREE refillable mug.

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

The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization initiatives is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

MSU Surplus Store website: http://www.msusurplusstore.com

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.