Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.04
Liaison Thomas Adams
Submission Date July 30, 2021

STARS v2.2

National University of Ireland, Galway
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.75 / 8.00 Dean Pearce
Head of Facilities Management and Services
Buildings Offices
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 172,636 Tonnes 191,921 Tonnes
Materials composted 0 Tonnes 0 Tonnes
Materials donated or re-sold 0 Tonnes 0 Tonnes
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tonnes 0 Tonnes
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 216,646 Tonnes 208,530 Tonnes
Total waste generated 389,282 Tonnes 400,451 Tonnes

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:

NUIG has a number of initiatives which we list below. We are currently reviewing data from these mixed sources and we aim that this will be ready to report at the time of our next STARS application.

Recycling and Reuse
An meitheal rothar recycles bikes, and repairs bikes by collecting the Galway City’s scrapped bikes (from the city council) and fixing and reusing them. They provide NUIG students and staff with waste prevention awareness and cycling courses, bikes and bike maintenance. More here: https://www.facebook.com/AnMheithealRothar

Compost
We are reviewing the quantities composted on site, there are a number of stakeholders and this is taking time to collate data and harmonise metrics. This will be part of our next STARS application.
- Sodexo our largest catering contractor implement a Waste Watch program which actively monitors food waste. Subsequent implementation of targeted operational and behavioral changes has reduced their food waste by 50%. More here: https://www.sodexo.com/positive-impact/sustainability/responsible-waste-reduction/wastewatch.html
- FoodSpace our second largest catering supplier has a zero-waste kitchen and so pickles and composts significantly.
- Where take away service is needed in NUIG the bringing back of cups is incentivised. Outside of this compostable cups, plates and cutlery are used on campus.
- NUIG Organic Gardening Society and its garden has developed a waste composting area to service its volunteers and its needs.

Materials donated or sold
IT equipment is being donated and repaired for students as part of the Tech2Students initiative – a collaboration with TCD entrepreneurs: https://www.tcd.ie/trinityaccess/tech2students/ . This initiative is inclusive and allows disadvantaged students IT access.

Post-residual conversion
A number of these initiatives exist and these include:
- The Insight centre in NUIG has a pilot project that takes plastic and converts it to filament ink. This project is currently looking to supply the printing needs of the campus by using societys plastic waste.
- Our Green Lab initiative also recycles glassware and actively reduces the use of plastic laboratory ware.


Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period Jan. 1, 2019 Dec. 31, 2019
Baseline Period Jan. 1, 2017 Dec. 31, 2017

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

The baseline of 2017 was chosen for the Universities carbon footprint baseline which has set the baseline for waste reporting also.


Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 1,198 764
Number of employees resident on-site 11 9
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 18,094 17,197
Full-time equivalent of employees 2,321 2,126
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 216 156
Weighted campus users 15,451.50 14,568.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 389,282 Tonnes 400,451 Tonnes

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:
8.34

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:
44.35

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):
44.35

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 No
Cooking oil No
Plant materials No
Animal bedding No
White goods (i.e. appliances) No
Electronics Yes
Laboratory equipment No
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste No
Scrap metal No
Pallets No
Tires No
Other (please specify below) No

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

Above we mention significant initiatives for which we have no collated data just yet. NUIG colleagues (Anne Marie and Naomh) oversee many furniture fit outs, refurbishments and requests for furniture. For years they have been diligently preventing waste, reusing items of furniture and saving on new purchases in the process. Data on this work can be seen in the attached excel file and the overall savings per year from the reuse of furniture is shown below (2015 - 2020).

Year Total Savings
2015/2016 €19,100.00
2016/2017 €92,500.00
2017/2018 €89,500.00
2018/2019 €39,000.00
2019/2020 €32,500.00


Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year:
0 Tonnes

Does the institution use single stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
No

Does the institution use dual stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
Yes

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
---

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:
0

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:

Signage and awareness of this issue is high amongst students. In March 2019, our University was awarded the internationally recognised Green Flag by the An Taisce Green-Campus Programme on behalf of the International Foundation for Environmental Education. Significant awareness around waste played a major part in this award. More here: http://www.nuigalway.ie/sustainability/projectsresources/the-green-flag-award/

Our caterers capture many of the food issues before they arrive in the bins as mentioned above. Prevention is a key element of what we do.


A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:

In March 2019 our coordinated campus efforts on waste and other resources were awarded the internationally recognised Green Flag by the An Taisce Green-Campus Programme on behalf of the International Foundation for Environmental Education. Significant awareness around waste played a major part in this award. More here: http://www.nuigalway.ie/sustainability/projectsresources/the-green-flag-award/


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

Please see the attached data compiled by my office. As mentioned we are currently extending this to incorporate all the elements of waste in our next NUIG STARS application.


A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

Our reporting in OP-11 illustrates that our procurement policy advances 2 main elements which impact waste: (i) cost efficiency and (ii) centralised purchasing. Our CUSP team is currently working on the sustainability of NUIGs procurement policy and further improvements will be evident in our next STARS application.


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

As mentioned above we have a number of decetralised initiatives which the CUSP team are bringing together for our next NUIG STARS application. Exchanges of office materials, furniture, and even bicycles will become clearer as we harmonise the data.


A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:

Peer to peer Reuse and Waste Awareness Education
An meitheal rothar are a cycling cooperative established in NUIG by students. It recycles bikes, and repairs bikes by collecting the Galway City’s scrapped bikes (from the city council) and fixing and reusing them. They provide NUIG students and staff with waste prevention awareness and cycling courses, bikes and bike maintenance. More here: https://www.facebook.com/AnMheithealRothar

Materials exchanged
IT equipment is being donated and repaired for students as part of the Tech2Students initiative – a collaboration with TCD entrepreneurs: https://www.tcd.ie/trinityaccess/tech2students/ . This initiative is inclusive and allows disadvantaged students IT access.


A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:

- The Insight centre in NUIG has a pilot project that takes plastic and converts it to filament ink. This project is currently looking to supply the printing needs of the campus by using societys plastic waste.


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

Our reporting in OP-11 illustrates that our procurement policy advances 2 main elements which impact waste: (i) cost efficiency and (ii) centralisation. Both elements aim to have online storage as the preference and default position.


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

NUIG staff oversee many furniture fit outs, refurbishments and requests for furniture. For years they have been diligently preventing waste, reusing items of furniture and saving on new purchases in the process. Data on this work can be seen in the attached excel file and the overall savings per year from the reuse of furniture is shown below (2015 - 2020). This has major impacts on conservation in the student halls. Staff also recycle move-out waste with charity shops.

Year Total Savings
2015/2016 €19,100.00
2016/2017 €92,500.00
2017/2018 €89,500.00
2018/2019 €39,000.00


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

Recycling and Reuse of Bikes
An meitheal rothar recycles bikes, and repairs bikes by collecting the Galway City’s scrapped bikes (from the city council) and fixing and reusing them. They provide NUIG students and staff with waste prevention awareness and cycling courses, bikes and bike maintenance. More here: https://www.facebook.com/AnMheithealRothar

As mentioned our caterers engage in waste prevention and reduce our food footprint significantly in so doing. NUIG boasts a zero waste kitchen.

Where take away service is needed in NUIG the bringing back of cups is incentivised. Outside of this compostable cups, plates and cutlery are used on campus.

NUIG Organic Gardening Society and its garden has developed a waste composting area to service its volunteers and its needs.

NUIGs Green Labs initiative is a European lighthouse project. It recycles glassware and actively reduces the use of plastic laboratory ware.

NUIG staff actively recover leftover belongings from student halls and as mentioned this data is not recorded yet in one centralised repository. CUSP are active in making this happen for the next STARS application. Just today Friday 11th June 2021 3 car loads FULL TO THE BRIM of student belongings were saved from landfill and donated to the social and circular economy in Galway intern providing support for those disadvantaged and marginalised in society. These included: unopened food; PlayStations; books; irons etc.


Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

NUI Galway hired catering contractors to facilitate catering on site. The caterers manage this waste themselves and have their own waste management sub contracts. This means that waste that goes into the bins on the catering premises is not recorded by our Buildings Office.

That said, we know that the majority of packaging from take away food and beverages from these outlets does get deposited in campus bins and would still be included in the figures, but we have no way to determine what those volumes are.

Three changes are planned for the future:
1. Commercial Services under the direction of Ann Duggan have undertaken to report waste data collected within their catering outlets.
2. We are hoping to introduce a third waste stream for biodegradable waste at all bin stations across the campus.
3. Monitored data for composted, reused, and recycled materials mentioned above are included in the overall figures.

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.