Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.85
Liaison Amy Butler
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Michigan State University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.38 / 8.00 Kris Jolley
MSU Recycling and Surplus Store
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 10,001 Tons 1,570 Tons
Materials composted 9,285 Tons 4,410 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 1,854 Tons 2,000 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 249 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 5,619 Tons 7,102 Tons
Total waste generated 27,008 Tons 15,082 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:

Anaerobic digester. Food waste from kitchens is source separated in put through a pulper prior to being digested.

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, 2009 June 30, 2010

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):

Baseline year was established along with the energy baseline for the energy transition plan as well as a baseline for the first reporting year of STARS.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 15,429 15,305
Number of employees resident on-site 236 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 447 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 45,677 45,149
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 12,063 11,061
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 900 0
Weighted campus users 46,993.25 45,983.75

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.57 Tons 0.33 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 Yes
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 No
Other (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of other materials the institution has recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold:

Textiles, books, polystyrene, office supplies, lab supplies, basketball flooring, exercise equipment and sporting goods, anything with a cord or battery, mattresses, carpet, ink and toner cartridges, other assorted reusable items.

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:

We sort materials in our own MRF and measure discards/contamination. Regular feedback solicited from brokers and mills.

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:

Container signs, tabeling events, Recyclemania and a vigorous social media presence with over 20,000 followers across all accounts.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:

Bin level audits. Reults are shared via social media. Dumpster audits are done in our MRF and generally include class participation. 

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

As a best practice, when negotiating an agreement or contract, MSU Purchasing requests that the packaging be made of sustainable materials; recyclable; and reusable.

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

Surplus Store open 5 days per week. Budget Booster newsletter sent to campus departments promoting reuse. Vigorous social media presence.

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):

Internal department mailings managed by specific colleges.

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):

MSU does not offer free printing. Standard rates are published and students/staff access printing through the print account. Single sided printing is allowed but is priced significantly higher to deter this form of printing. https://tech.msu.edu/technology/printing/. Print profiles of each user provide cumulative impacts of printing, i.e. percent of trees; grams of C02, and hours running a 60 W light bulb as a part of the education component.

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:

MSU does not print course catalogs. MSU provides online searchable course catalogs, course schedules, course descriptions; degree navigators, reports and additional services as well as information online for the students

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

MSU's move-in/move out program is called Pack-up Pitch in.  A description of the program is provided to all incoming residents in their "Move In Guide".  A copy of the 2018-Move-In-Guide is included as additional information.  For more than 20 years, Pack Up.Pitch In. has aided in the collection of move-in materials such as cardboard, plastic, paper, and glass. For Move-Out in between break and for end of year, residents are notified through psters; postcards, bin signs, through their eco-reps and through their resident assistants.  During Move-Out, additional items are collected: non perishable foods are collected at the Service Centers; personal care; household/.electronics; dining hall dishes and clothing/shoes.  Usable Furniture is arranged for pickup; household electronics are also collected.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:

"Vigorous Surplus program, free pickup, dumpster audits. Waste, recycling and surplus activities are comprehensive and under one budget.

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

"msusurplusstore.com; recycle.msu.edu; reg.msu.edu;  .

MSU uses actual weights and that we’ve looked at yard-to-pound conversion factors recommended by the EPA and that when applied in reverse to our data, our recycling rate increases 10%. The number for trash sent to the landfill reported in 2011 was solid. We've decreased that by 20%, which is notable given our growth in FTE’e and square footage. While overall the total of waste has increased, it is a reflection increased accuracy in tracking all materials rather than an actual increase. Pounds of recycling has certainly increased. The number for last year was more accurate due to adding scales to the trucks that collect that material. "

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.