Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.74
Liaison Krista Bailey
Submission Date Oct. 20, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Pennsylvania State University
OP-23: Waste Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.67 / 3.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Materials diverted from the solid waste landfill or incinerator:
7,150 Tons

Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator :
5,723.20 Tons

A brief description of programs, policies, infrastructure investments, outreach efforts, and/or other factors that contributed to the diversion rate, including efforts made during the previous three years:

In 2013 Penn State rolled out a new program called "möbius" on its UP campus, which aims to "close the loop" on its solid waste. In addition to the paper, glass, plastic bottles, and metal recycling bins already in most buildings, organic waste and miscellanous bins will be added the sorting station. By the middle of 2015, every building on the UP campus will have one or more möbius stations. Custodial staff will no longer empty office trash cans. Rather, employees will be responsible for sorting the contents of their personal bins at the möbius stations. This is expected to enhance awareness, and shift custodial efforts from emptying personal bins to managing contents of the recycling/ composting bins. This initiative is expected to enable the University to divert 85% of the University's solid waste from the landfill.

Intercollegiate Athletics is part of the mobius initiative as well. The new Pegula Ice Arena has möbius stations. At Beaver Stadium, the President’s Suite and Legislative Suite will be showcases for möbius, with 100 percent compostable bio-products for their food service and customized collection stations.

A description of other recycling initiatives - including the STATERS student program, the Green Team's Terracycle initiative, the Construction & Demolition Program, the THON Four Diamonds Recycling Effort, use of the RediIndex, and the Blue and White Bag Programs for document and media shredding - can be found here: http://sustainability.psu.edu/mobius/recycle#programs

Penn State Policy AD34, University Recycling Program, sets forth the University's policy and objectives for its Recycling/ Reuse program. See http://guru.psu.edu/policies/AD34.html


A brief description of any food donation programs employed by the institution:

Any perishable food items are donated to Meals on Wheels prior to long semester breaks (winter and summer). The individual dining commons managers contacts Meals on Wheels to organize the pick-up. The amount of food each dining common is able to donate varies depending on the time of year and semester.

A student club, Waste Not, primarily concerns itself with acquiring perishable, leftover food from dining halls on University Park campus and delivering it to care homes, hospices, and halfway houses in the State College area.


A brief description of any pre-consumer food waste composting program employed by the institution:

Pre-consumer food is captured from the six on-campus dining commons, several outlets on campus such as the HUB and Bryce Jordan Center, as well as the hospitality centers (Nittany Lion Inn and Penn Stater) and catering service (Campus Catering). The hospitality employees source separate pre and post consumer food. Food service employees also source separate pre-consumer food.

Since 1997 Penn State’s Organic Materials Processing and Education Center (OMPEC) has demonstrated continuous growth in quantity, quality and variety of organic materials captured, processed and utilized at the University Park Campus. The OMPEC site is operated as a captive facility. The primary inputs diverted from the waste stream are pre and post-consumer food residuals, leaves, landscape debris and lab animal cage wastes. Farm animal manure and crop residues are used to compliment the various feedstocks to create an optimal compost mix and to produce value added end products demanded by users.

The OMPEC facility fulfills operational needs of the University, provides research opportunities and serves as a model facility for the public and private organics processing sector to observe and learn organics processing procedures. Each year classes in Environmental Resource Management, Horticulture, Agro Ecology and Ag Engineering visit the site to learn about environmental design, production and equipment.

The program was developed as a collaboration between the College of Agricultural Sciences, Housing and Food Services, Hospitality Services and the Office of Physical Plant. The project has parallel goals of responding to the needs of handling organic residuals generated from within the university and enhancing teaching, research and extension/outreach programs of a land-grant university. The Office of Physical Plant coordinates collection and delivery of food residuals and the College of Agricultural Sciences is responsible for compost production.


A brief description of any post-consumer food waste composting program employed by the institution:

Post-consumer food is captured at the Nittany Lion Inn, Penn Stater and catering service (Campus Catering), and campus dining halls. With the roll-out of the new office composting program, post-consumer organic waste will be captured in all buildings on the University Park campus.

Since 1997 Penn State’s Organic Materials Processing and Education Center (OMPEC) has demonstrated continuous growth in quantity, quality and variety of organic materials captured, processed and utilized at the University Park Campus. The OMPEC site is operated as a captive facility. The primary inputs diverted from the waste stream are pre and post-consumer food residuals, leaves, landscape debris and lab animal cage wastes. Farm animal manure and crop residues are used to compliment the various feedstocks to create an optimal compost mix and to produce value added end products demanded by users.

The OMPEC facility fulfills operational needs of the University, provides research opportunities and serves as a model facility for the public and private organics processing sector to observe and learn organics processing procedures. Each year classes in Environmental Resource Management, Horticulture, Agro Ecology and Ag Engineering visit the site to learn about environmental design, production and equipment.

The program is a collaboration between the College of Agricultural Sciences, Housing and Food Services, Hospitality Services and the Office of Physical Plant. The project has parallel goals of responding to the needs of handling organic residuals generated from within the university and enhancing teaching, research and extension/outreach programs of a land-grant university. The Office of Physical Plant coordinates collection and delivery of food residuals and the College of Agricultural Sciences is responsible for compost production.


Does the institution include the following materials in its waste diversion efforts?:
Yes or No
Paper, plastics, glass, metals, and other recyclable containers Yes
Food donations Yes
Food for animals Yes
Food composting Yes
Cooking oil Yes
Plant materials composting Yes
Animal bedding composting Yes
Batteries Yes
Light bulbs Yes
Toner/ink-jet cartridges 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
Motor oil Yes
Tires Yes

Other materials that the institution includes in its waste diversion efforts:

OPP salvages motors, pumps, and electric gear that are either used for their parts or refurbished for reuse.

Carpet recycling: In 2010, Penn State's Office of Physical Plant, Procurement Services, and the Smeal College of Business collaborated to develop a new standard for carpet purchasing, installation and removal that reduced the first cost by 3-5%, the total cost of ownership by an estimated 20%, and ensures that 100% of Penn State carpet never sees a landfill.


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