Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.60
Liaison Dayna Cook
Submission Date May 1, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Northern Arizona University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.27 / 5.00 Ellen Vaughan
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 1,296 Tons 800 Tons
Materials composted 45 Tons 0 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 15.85 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,796.60 Tons 1,700 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 7,168 6,053
Number of residential employees 2,487 2,297
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 17,586 11,140.76
Full-time equivalent of employees 2,487 2,297
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, 2011 June 30, 2012
Baseline Year July 1, 2005 June 30, 2006

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

The baseline year was adopted because it was the first year that amounts were accounted for.

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

On October 20, 2013, Facility Services in coordination with Campus Dining audited the waste stream from the homecoming football game. Various waste streams were inventoried and weighed. All recyclables were recycled properly.

A brief description of any institutional procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

The NAU Purchasing department has established policies that address sustainable purchasing in the "Contracting and Purchasing Services Policy Manual." Among other items, when possible, practical and feasible, the University will strive to select products
that are: Durable as opposed to single use or disposable, Non or minimally toxic, preferably biodegradable, Contain a high recycled content, especially post consumer recycled content, highly recyclable at the end of the life-cycle, and shipped responsibly by combining shipments with other shipments to the University or region with
minimal packaging consistent with care of product made from recycled and/or recyclable materials. The full policy can be found here: http://nau.edu/Contracting-Purchasing-Services/_Forms/Policies/204/

A brief description of any surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

Northern Arizona University is required by law to maximize use of all assets and, when it has no further use for them, maximize returns on their sale. We are not allowed to give surplus property away. The Surplus Property Department is the only NAU department authorized to dispose of surplus property. The primary role of the Surplus Property department is to ensure that the excess property generated by NAU will be handled in a method that both maximizes the return to the University and meets the disposal requirements of the state and federal governments.

Departments may use property surplus to obtain used materials on campus and when materials are not used within the University, they are sold to the public.

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

Course catalogs are available at: http://catalog.nau.edu/

Course schedules available through the student online LOUIE system.

Directory is found on the front page of the NAU website: http://nau.edu/

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

In the library and computer labs on campus there either is no printing or charged printing. Free printing is limited to some Graduate Assitant Offices only.

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

The "Leave Green" campaign was the marketing effort to enhance the existing residence hall move out waste diversion program benefiting local, not-for-profit agencies. The Leave Green logo, title, and enhanced marketing materials were created in cooperation with a Hooper Sustainability Grant (awarded to undergraduate students Emily Goff and Melissa Phillips), NAU Residence Life, NAU Recycling, and the Merriam Powell Center for Environmental Research.

NAU Residence Life annually invites local non-profit agencies to submit applications to participate in this program. Past participants include Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, St. Mary's Food Bank, and the Northern Arizona Food Bank. The selected agencies are granted permission to place donation bins inside of every residence hall on campus to collect gently used clothing, household appliances, reusable furniture, unused school supplies, and non-perishable foods.

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

At the University Union and Dubois center people can drop off batteries and printer cartridges to be recycled. Batteries can also be recycled at Facility Services as well as light bulbs. There is also a central drop-off location location for glass in parking lot P62B.

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

NAU annually audits the waste stream of the University which includes our dining areas. NAU Campus Dining tracks and reports their waste stream of landfill, recyclables and compost to the EPA Food Recovery Challenge annually using LeanPath software, City of Flagstaff tipping weights of recycling and refuse and the NAU Composting Programs daily weight logs for tracking and measurement. Dining Services also coordinates “Weigh the Waste” events within the resident dining halls throughout the academic year to educate students on daily food waste and its impact on the environment and provide analysis of post-consumer waste.

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:

NAU Campus Dining measures and carefully analyzes food waste through a program developed specifically to minimize waste, named LeanPath. LeanPath software records all pre-consumer food waste daily, the reason for it being composted or thrown away, as well as provides strategic action plans to reduce food waste. These numbers are also cross referenced with the NAU Compost Programs daily weight logs. NAU Campus Dining participates in the EPA Food Recovery Challenge yearly which provides resources and webinar training to reduce food waste and requires yearly reporting of food waste and a commitment to reduce food waste each year. Through the use of these tools, we have seen a 20% reduction on pre-consumer food waste in our main dining facilities.

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

NAU Campus Dining Services coordinates events like “Weigh the Waste” within the resident dining throughout the academic year and "Slash the Trash" at the Skydome during the football season to track and bring awareness to waste reduction specifically post-consumer waste. Students sort and weigh the waste and analyze the post-consumer waste stream for improvements on waste minimization as well as become more empowered as individuals to reduce their waste footprint overall.

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):

Several dining locations use only compostable containers for “to go” orders. All retail cold beverage cups in the 16 oz size (which is the size that comes with the meal plan transfers) are compostable. NAU Campus Dining provides compostable to-go ware for catering events and at specific retail locations.

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):

Both resident dining locations use “dine in” service-ware. Additionally, the Green Scene Café customers have the option to use “dine in” plates and silverware if they choose to eat in the café, which a majority of the customers do or use a re-usable container for “to go” orders.

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:

Reusable beverage containers can be used at any retail dining location across campus for a $0.50 discount on a beverage purchase. At the Green Scene Café reusable to go sandwich and salad containers are available for purchase which also come with the incentive of the $0.50 discount each time the container is used.

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

NAU Campus Dining strives to reduce their impact on the environment and reduce consumption of natural resources by employing best practices in the areas of waste minimization (i.e. LeanPath program), energy reduction and water conservation. Education and outreach to the campus community are also facilitated through a variety of Campus Dining marketing vehicles such as table tents, LCD screen imaging and special events to encourage reducing waste on campus, relating to food waste, recycling and how to get involved with such projects on campus.

Other initiatives Campus Dining has implemented to reduce waste that have not already been listed include the “Take A Taste” program encouraging tasting of foods before taking an entire plate, trayless dining, using products (napkins and some containers) made of recycled materials, removing plastic bags and Styrofoam from Dining’s retail services, and water refill stations.

Take a Taste is a program within resident dining; staff at each platform keeps a small number of portions size samples of the main entrée available for a taste test. Along with the signage “Take A Taste” I’s main objective is to encourages customers to try a small sample of the dish at the before taking a full serving to ensure the least amount of food is wasted. Trayless Dining reduces water waste, energy waste and food waste in our residential dining locations. Every time a meal is served without a tray, a quarter of water, one ounce of food waste, plus the detergent and energy needed for washing trays is saved. By using recycled materials and non petroleum based products we are decreasing the amount of virgin materials being harvested and fossil fuels in the production of for disposable ware. A large component of the retail dining is “to-go”. This requires a number of disposable materials. Dining Services work with their vendors to encourage the use of sustainable products and ensure proper recycling of containers when possible. Campus Dining went Styrofoam free across our retail dining locations the fall of 2012. Dining went bagless in the fall of 2010 which has annual removed 33,000 plastic bags from the campus supply chain and saved over a ton of carbon in production and disposable of the bags. All of the brown napkins are made of 100% recycled materials. Each case of napkins used in our express dispenser saves, 126 gallons of water, one cubic feet of landfill space, and seven gallons of water (compared to virgin fiber products). Express napkin dispensers make it easy for you to get the napkins you need while reducing the number used and wasted, saving valuable natural resources.

Filtered water refill stations are available in both the University Union and the du Bois Center. Several other hydration/water bottle fill stations have been installed in various buildings on campus. These stations encourage the use of reusable containers instead of buying individually bottled water.

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

Performance year 2011

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.