Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.88
Liaison Krista Bailey
Submission Date Sept. 14, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Pennsylvania State University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.96 / 8.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 2,529 Tons 2,295 Tons
Materials composted 4,780 Tons 1,955 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 95 Tons 77 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 5,895 Tons 6,184 Tons
Total waste generated 13,299 Tons 10,511 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 Jan. 1, 2016 Dec. 31, 2016
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2005 Dec. 31, 2005

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):
2005 was adopted as the baseline year to be consistent with our previous STARS report. Waste data are collected and reported on a calendar year basis.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 14,211 13,795
Number of employees resident on-site 0 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 45,661 39,043
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 15,577 14,183
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 49,481.25 43,368.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.27 Tons 0.24 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 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
Tires Yes
Other (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of other materials the institution has recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold:
OPP salvages motors, pumps, and electric gear that are either used for their parts or refurbished for reuse.

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:
Consumer education and effective signage are two means used to reduce contamination. (See comments in section below regarding Penn State's efforts in these areas.) The Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority, to which the majority of Penn State's recycling is sent, assesses the contamination rate of materials they process. In addition, the OMPEC composting facility on campus tracks contamination and discard rates for materials processed in that facility..

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:
Sustainability Institute staff and interns are presenting the "Recycling Roadshow" to units across campus to educate them about recycling practices and protocols at Penn State. In addition, a study of recycling signage is being conducted to provide insight into what type of signage is most effective in promoting correct sorting by consumers.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:
Periodic waste audits are conducted by the Office of Physical Plant in the dorms and other university buildings. In 2017 an RFP was issued for a comprehensive waste audit by a third party contractor.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste (e.g. by minimizing packaging and purchasing in bulk):
The following procurement policies and initiatives were developed to reduce waste: eBuy, the University’s e-procurement system, reduces paper usage by electronically delivering purchasing orders and electronically processing invoices and payments. Travel Services uses a paperless transaction process, including accepting electronic documents as official receipts for reconciliation and reimbursement. Custodial services uses super concentrated cleaning products in automatic dispensers that reduces packaging and usage waste. Jumbo dispensers are used for paper towels and toilet tissue to reduce packaging and use. For ceiling tiles and carpet, Penn State has worked with vendors to implement recycling of old product when replaced with new product.

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:
Penn State's Furniture Re-use Program collects and redistributes furniture among Penn State University offices. Lion Surplus operates a public sales store open to students, faculty, staff, and the general public. Lion Surplus disposes of University-owned equipment such as desks, chairs, filing cabinets, electronics, and scientific equipment through sales, bids, or auctions.

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):
Students using lab and classroom printers managed by Information Technology Services (ITS) may print up to 110 black-and-white pages each semester without charge; above that limit, students must purchase additional sheets. Faculty and staff are also allotted a limited number of free sheets on lab and classroom printers.; additional sheets may be purchased by the employee's unit, or by the employee.

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:
Course descriptions and semester schedules are available online on LionPath https://public.lionpath.psu.edu Information on degree program is online for undergrads and graduate students (http://bulletins.psu.edu/undergrad/programs/) (http://bulletins.psu.edu/graduate/) Classes are scheduled online using the student's LionPath page. http://launch.lionpath.psu.edu/ Additionally, the advising handbook for course sequencing can be found online and the student's degree audit and transcripts are online. The Penn State directory is online and lists contact information for students, faculty, and staff. This can be found at: http://www.work.psu.edu/ldap/ Electronic documents and data entry systems have replaced many that formerly relied on paper, including Time and Attendance reporting (ESSIC), online General Stores catalog, online OPP Stores catalog, electronic pay checks, mobile application in OPP’s FAM to reduce printed work orders, electronic reporting, online data warehouses, etc.

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:
Penn State's Trash to Treasure event (T2T) collects donated goods and sells them in a one day sale. The program raises approximately $50,000 for the Centre County United Way and saves more than 60 tons of usable goods from going to a landfill. Beginning the week before finals, collection bins are placed in residence halls. Penn State staff and United Way volunteers sort the goods and man the sale held at Beaver Stadium in early June each year. http://sites.psu.edu/trash2treasure/.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:
Recycling sorting stations are conveniently located in all building on campus. A wide variety of materials is accepted, including: mixed paper & newspaper; glass; metal; plastic bottles; miscellaneous plastics, and compostables.

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
Penn State's recycling program is continually evolving in response to customer feedback, waste audits, assessment of what works and what doesn't, requirements and practices of the county Solid Waste Authority, and market forces.

Penn State's recycling program is continually evolving in response to customer feedback, waste audits, assessment of what works and what doesn't, requirements and practices of the county Solid Waste Authority, and market forces.

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.