Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 54.34
Liaison Elaine Goetz
Submission Date March 11, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Ohio University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.49 / 5.00 Andrew Ladd
Recycling & Zero Waste Manager
Recycling & Refuse
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 1,505.10 Tons 1,333.68 Tons
Materials composted 747.76 Tons 497.15 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 290.59 Tons 291.95 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,870.35 Tons 2,359.81 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 7,581 7,523
Number of residential employees 20 20
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 23,700.10 20,622
Full-time equivalent of employees 3,460 3,498
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 3,062 0

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2013 June 30, 2014
Baseline Year July 1, 2011 June 30, 2012

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

FY2012 is the first year for which The University is confident in our relative accuracy of data.

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

We perform periodic waste "recovery" audits, pulling all waste from the dumpsters and recycling from a representative location to determine use and recycling rates and compare to after proper sorting rates.

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:

Surplus is charged with administering the disposition of surplus/excess property which complies with applicable laws.
Any department which declares as excess state or university property will contact the Surplus Management Department. The property will be removed from the department for disposition either through transfer to another University department or public sale. See: Procedure for Disposition of Surplus/Excess Property Procedure No.55.071
Surplus Management has reusable items available to university departments at The Ridges Building # 9 and can be purchased for a very nominal fee. The warehouse is open from 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

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

Communication to parents, students, staff and faculty are accomplished through multiple newsletters and online resources. These include but are not limited to communications from the President and Dean of Students, Orientation, Move-In and Move-out guides, internal news publication and special event emails. Course catalogs, factbooks, directories and other resources are available electronically.

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

Departments across campus are being progressively converted to third party owned printers and copiers. Black and white printing costs the department $.025 and color costs $.25.

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

There are multiple drop-off locations for reusable goods (students are offered flyers outlining what qualifies as “reusable goods”) at every residence hall, both indoors and outdoors. RAs and other volunteers are equipped to assist in locating drop-off programs. Food Donation Sites are also available in each residence hall. Students can drop off non-perishable food items left over from the semester that will be donated to local food pantries.

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

Our catering and events have moved to eliminate disposable plastic items and replace with the new norm of 100% reusable or 100% compostable. Athletic tailgates and University sponsored events work with each invited vendor to increase reusable options and prohibit non-recyclable or non-compostable items. Surplus department captures reusable items for repurposing on campus or resale. Construction and design carefully considers reuse and salvage in every project.

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

All food waste from the dining halls is captured in the kitchens by scraping plates into dedicated compost collection bins prior to washing of dishes. The percentage of food waste captured fluctuates between 95-98% with very little contamination. Composting of food waste is done on-campus through a combination of in-vessel digesters and windrows. All compost is weighed before processing.

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:

Culinary Services relies heavily upon inventory data from past years; such benchmarking of past inventory needs has proved to be a fantastic asset when forecasting for the future. Our forecasting data also takes holidays, seasons and more into account in order to gain a clearer picture of future inventory needs.

Recent renovations have focused on reducing food waste from the production end as well. For example, the cook/chill system and central production kitchen at our Central Food Facility has helped us to further reduce waste by centralizing production. Instead of making soup, sauces, pasta, rice and other food items individually in all of our units, these items are made in one location and shipped out. The cook/chill system allows us to produce food in bulk and then chill it for up to 30 days.

This central production model also allows us to eliminate redundant machinery within each of our Dining Courts/Halls and affords us with a smaller, more energy efficient production footprint. There is also minimal food waste within the Central Food Facility as a result of this central production model.

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

All of Culinary Services' Dining Courts/Halls track food waste, excluding the food that is served to student diners and then thrown away by the student diner. The national benchmark for food waste in a food operation is 2% of the total value of food purchased.

In the 2013-14 school year, our dining courts/halls purchased $4,800,482 in food. The dollar value of the food thrown away was $56,898, or 1.19% of the total value of food purchased. Compared to 2010-11, when Culinary Services did not have a centralized production kitchen and cook-chill facility, the value of food thrown away was $82,340 (this number has been adjusted for inflation).

Culinary Services has reduced the value of food waste by $25,442 which is a 31% reduction in food waste ($25,442 divided by $82,340 = 31%). Such numbers highlight the fact that Ohio University Culinary Services produces only a small amount of waste (and well below the national average).

Post consumer food waste is tracked through our composting system as described above in the food waste audit section (all compost is weighed before processing). Programs to reduce post-consumer waste are described in the dining services waste minimization section below (signage, educational programs, self-serve options).

Additionally, all of our staff is ServSafe certified in safe food handling and have the necessary qualifications to determine if food is safe to reuse. It is not a safe practice to re-heat food more than once, and any leftover food that has already been re-heated is thrown away. Leftover food that has been re-heated once cannot be donated due to the risk of foodborne illness.

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):

Culinary Services explored the possibilty of reusable containers; however, these are against the Ohio Food Code and would not pass a local health inspection. All of our campus dining venues utilize compostable take-out containers that help to both maximize the use of our two campus composting vessels and further ongoing campus sustainability efforts. All of our compostable service ware is BPI certified.

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 dining halls use reusable service ware (plates, glasses, bowls, knives, forks, etc.) for all dine-in operations. To-go options and operations at our Student Union use compostable options on all items packaged in house (plates, clamshells, knives, forks, dressing ramekins, napkins, hot and cold cups including lids, etc.). We have a comprehensive on-campus composting facility.

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:

Culinary Services offers discounts to customers utilizing reusable mugs at all five campus cafés and our primary food court located in the campus student center. The regular cost of a 16 oz coffee at a campus café is $1.75. Use of a reusable mug discounts this price to $1.25, for a recurring savings of .50 cents per visit.

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

Ohio University Culinary Services is committed to providing the highest quality dining and consumer experience possible for the diverse university community and guests; such commitment supports the educational mission and residential concept of Ohio University.

We collaborate with the Office of Sustainability to help educate students regarding food waste and how they can help to decrease the amounts of wasted food. Signs are posted in all Dining Courts/Halls encouraging students to take only what they know they will eat and to not be shy about asking for smaller portions. Furthermore, Shively Court and Nelson Court, two of our most recently renovated dining venues, provide numerous self-serve concepts in which customers can choose their own portions. Such self service stations have greatly reduced our amounts of food waste.

The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization initiatives is available:

We’re always looking for new ways to increase our sustainability and reduce food waste. We also value student input; in fact, the Culinary Services Development Committee (CSDC) is a student-led group that helps us to evaluate sustainability-related ideas and initiatives. Our recent reusable bags initiative, in which all 2013-2014 residential students on a meal plan were provided with a reusable bag free of charge, was borne out of CSDC. We encourage all campus students to join this committee and let their voice be heard.

The residential employee numbers are an estimate, based on Residence Life staff data.

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.