Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 51.15
Liaison Joanne Wong
Submission Date May 31, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Mills College
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.55 / 8.00 Nicole Gaetjens
Sustainability Coordinator
Campus Facilities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 91.40 Tons 21 Tons
Materials composted 93.90 Tons 67 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 22 Tons 5 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 157.20 Tons 362 Tons
Total waste generated 364.50 Tons 455 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, 2014 June 30, 2015
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):

Our baseline is FY2006. In this fiscal year, there was very limited recycling, compost had already been fully implemented in the dining halls, and there was an extended infrastructure of dumpsters across campus. During this time, a Recycling Manager was hired and the College invested staff time and resources in implementing a campus-wide recycling program. In the years that followed, compost was expanded across campus and many of the dumpsters were downgraded to smaller carts. The performance year of July 1 2014-June 30 2015 differs somewhat from the Fall 2015 data reported in IC 3, resulting in some discrepancies between the two credits.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 614 # 491 #
Number of employees resident on-site 18 # 18 #
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 # 0 #
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 1,405 # 1,270 #
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 388 # 356.80 #
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 # 0 #
Weighted campus users 1,502.75 1,347.35

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.24 Tons 0.34 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 No
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:

Mills has a Reuse Depot where basically any reusable item can be donated and others can take it for free.

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:

Standard signage for landfill, recycling, and composting is posted for all indoor bins with photos of the common items put in those bins. These signs are available for printing on the Mills Sustainability website. Mills has a video describing specifically what goes into each bin at Mills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhjCFqjeDMY . Furthermore, Mills participates annually in the Recyclemania competition, with an inter-residence competition organized to encourage performance in the national competition.

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

Staff and students have conducted waste audits in the dumpsters outside of a residence hall. These audits demonstrated a high ratio of paper towels, which pushed forward the initiative to implement a compost program throughout the residence halls. After the compost program was implemented and before the RecycleMania competition, students and staff conducted an audit of the residence hall compost bins to obtain an accurate volume to weigh conversion ratio.

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

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

There are several ways that the College goes about reusing and exchanging office supplies. Departments may contact Facilities to take unwanted items, which are stored and made available to other departments upon request. The student-run Re-Use Depot accepts items such as office and school supplies, which are quickly redistributed to the community. Many departments have a reuse area in their supply closet so workers within a department can exchange supplies. Lastly, the Re-Use Depot is a student-run space where Mills community members can donate and/or take gently used items for free.

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):

GoPrint is a centralized printer management system. At Mills GoPrint is deployed in student computing labs to monitor printing and charge for usage above the free allowance assigned to each student. GoPrint is also tracking usage on networked printers outside of student labs so Mills can better analyze and track printing across campus.

GoPrint is being implemented as part of an effort to curb waste for both environmental and fiscal reasons. Many institutions that have implemented printing systems have found that making users aware of the cost of their printing results in a significant decrease in printing. Such a decrease would help support sustainability goals and reduce rising costs.

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 College has migrated all course catalogs, course schedules, and directories to online sources and does not provide printed copies.

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

During move-out, the Reusables Drive provides the opportunity for students to donate the items they do not need, directing them toward the Re-Use Depot or local non-profit organizations. This program keeps our resources in the community and extends their useful life. Developed over many years, this program is extremely successful at diverting useful material goods away from the landfill.

Donated storage pods, labeled Reusables Drive, are placed in the parking lot directly next to each residence hall to be used as collection rooms. They provide students with a dry, enclosed location to donate their items. They are available to students the last week before move-out. The Re-Use Depot closes the Friday before the last day of instruction in order to make room for the Reusables Drive operations.

The Sustainability Coordinator and a team of student workers collect the donated items, sort them according to their appropriate destinations, and direct them to either the Re-Use Depot or local organizations.

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

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

Counts of students, staff, etc. noted in this section are the counts associated with the performance timeline measured, in this case July 1 2014 - June 30 2015. Overall demographics given in the beginning of this STARS report reflect most recent counts.

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.