Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.49
Liaison Krista Bailey
Submission Date Dec. 17, 2020

STARS v2.2

Pennsylvania State University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.86 / 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 3,278 Tons 2,295 Tons
Materials composted 5,003 Tons 1,955 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 48 Tons 77 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 6,190 Tons 6,184 Tons
Total waste generated 14,519 Tons 10,511 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:

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, 2005 Dec. 31, 2005

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

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 14,180 13,795
Number of employees resident on-site 0 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 45,798 39,043
Full-time equivalent of employees 15,265 14,183
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 49,342.25 43,368.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.29 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
Electronics 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:

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

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

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

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:

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:

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 audits are conducted by the Office of Physical Plant (Custodial Services) in the dorms and other buildings (including academic and athletic). In 2018, a comprehensive waste audit was conducted by a third party contractor that helped inform our Waste Stream Task Force in implementing next steps for reducing contamination and increasing participation in our reuse/recycling programs.

See https://wastestream.psu.edu/ for more information

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

"The following procurement policies and initiatives were developed to reduce waste:

eBuy and the System for Integrated Management, Budgeting, and Accounting (SIMBA), the University’s e-procurement system, reduces paper usage by electronically delivering purchasing orders and electronically processing invoices and payments, as well as electronically delivering budgetary and accounting documents.

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.

Penn State's Purchasing Department has developed a Sustainable Purchasing Policy that provides guidelines, goals, and mechanisms for purchasing materials that offer sustainable options. See the final report of the waste stream task force (cited below) for more specific information."

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:

Penn State owns and operates a Reuse store (Lion Surplus). Where faculty, staff, students and community members can purchased used items (i.e., electronics, furniture, vehicles, etc.) previously intended for disposal. Penn State also manages an annual Trash to Treasure event during move-out periods where items are collected from residence halls and resold. All proceeds go to the United Way Foundation.

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

"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.

Moreover, Penn State's Sustainability Institute is working in partnership with ITS and Penn State Colleges to implement a printer reduction campaign whereby faculty and staff forgo individual printers for Multi-functional Printer Devices designed to reduce paper usage and overall printing."

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials 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.

Moreover, Penn State recently transitioned to a new online tool for integrated management: SIMBA (System for Integrated Management, Budgeting, and Accounting). Whereby staff and administrative employees can conduct transactions and other management practice virtually (significantly reducing the use of paper and printing).

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 buildings on campus. A wide variety of materials is accepted, including: mixed paper & newspaper; glass; metal; plastic bottles, jugs, and jars; and compostables (including food waste). Penn State also operates a Surplus Store (Lion Surplus) through an in-person warehouse and online-shop where Penn State Faculty, Staff, Students and community members can purchase used goods recovered and repurposed (intended for disposal).

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts 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.

Consult Penn State's Waste Stream Task Force website for further information: https://wastestream.psu.edu/

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.

Consult Penn State's Waste Stream Task Force website for further information: https://wastestream.psu.edu/

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.