Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 51.85
Liaison Karen Eckert, Ph.D.
Submission Date Nov. 30, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Principia College
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.08 / 5.00 Karen Eckert, Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Center for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 90.31 Tons 65.73 Tons
Materials composted 23.25 Tons 0 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 101.84 Tons 131.41 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 503 503
Number of residential employees 105 105
Number of in-patient hospital beds 13 13
Full-time equivalent enrollment 503 503
Full-time equivalent of employees 323 323
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 0 0

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2014 Dec. 31, 2014
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2011 Dec. 31, 2011

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

Complete data are available for the period between 2011 and 2014, and the period encompasses our transition from multi- to single-stream recycling.


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

A complete campus waste audit was done by Republic Services (our waste contractor) in partnership with the Facilities Department, the Center for Sustainability and the Student Senate in April 2015. The audit concluded that our waste diversion rate is up 5% from 2014 and estimated to be nearly 50%. A department-level waste audit by Dining Services, also in 2015, showed an overall diversion rate of 89% (54% non-food recycling, 35% composting).


A brief description of any institutional procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

There are no formal policies, but Procurement officers especially in Dining Services, emphasize minimal and biodegradable packaging; cleaning supplies are purchased (and dispensed) in bulk.


A brief description of any surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

All residence halls have a Share Box where office supplies, clothing, linings, appliances and electronics, and so on are offered to students for reuse (besides on-campus reduce, ca. 0.50 tones of clothes and miscellaneous student items were donated to Goodwill through the Share Box program 2014) ; the Facilities Department hosts a semi-annual "White Shed Sale" open to the community (658 items of miscellaneous furniture, furnishings, appliances, and equipment - including 15 fleet vehicles - were purposed through the White Shed Surplus and Vehicles Sales in 2014); Items remaining from these efforts are picked-up by community partners for donation to needy families or local schools; specialty equipment (e.g., cardboard baler) is advertised on Craig's List.


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

The faculty are encouraged by the academic dean to use academic technologies including Black Board and Chalk and Wire to create, distribute, and evaluate homework and assessment assignment documents; Agendas and supporting documents for faculty and staff meetings are always presented electronically; Phone books and course catalogs are only available in printed copy upon request; Course schedules are only available online; College publications (e.g., annual report, student magazine) are available online and printed only in limited quantity.


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

Faculty and staff are encouraged by the Office of Information Technology to limit paper and ink consumption by, for example, eliminating support (supplies, warranty) for in-office printers - shared printers are available at the Department level only.Paper use monitoring software is installed on all networked printers and data are complied and shared with users.


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

College Flex Crew places additional recycling bins and increases pick-up schedule during move-in/move-out periods; Information is made available to residence halls concerning importance of proper waste disposal


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

Recycling bins are clearly marked and conveniently placed at every building entrance/ exit. The Facilities Department provides clear, color-coordinated signage to differentiate between recycling, soft plastics, composting, and landfill. Campus-wide contests (e.g., RecyleMania) encourage awareness of recycling, Eco Heads host recycling games at all-campus events (e.g., Earth Day), classes (e.g., Introduction to Sustainability) offer field trips to recycling facilities to emphasize the importance of being a zero waste institution.


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

A department-level waste audit by Dining Services in 2015 showed an overall diversion rate of 89% (54% non-food recycling, 35% composting). An assessment of a pilot composting program in student residential halls documented a diversion of more than 400 lb of compostable material in 8 wk (September 21-November 26, 2014) from 3 campus dorms.


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:

Dining Services has documented 100% composting of pre- and post-consumer food waste from its operations, and is recognized as a Gold Partner by the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition: http://illinoiscomposts.org/we-compost/institutions


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

Elected student Eco Heads closely monitor, in partnership with Housekeeping services, post-consumer food waste in residence halls. Contamination issues are immediately flagged, discussed internally, and resolved.


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):

Students have the option to make a $10 deposit to dining services to rent a "cambro" or reusable to-go container. Students who make the $10 deposit get their money back when they are done with the cambro and return it to dining services. Students who do not make the $10 deposit for the cambro can purchase with their meal a fully compostable to-go container, which they can compost back in the dining room, in the science academic building, or their residential houses. Compostable to-go cups for both cold and hot drinks and compostable straws are available for purchase as well.


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 of Principia Dining Services is zero-waste. Any "dine in" meals are served with reusable ceramic dinner plates, reusable hard plastic cups, and aluminum eating utensils. For to-go meals, students have the option to make a $10 deposit to dining services to rent a "cambro" or reusable to-go container. Students who make the $10 deposit get their money back when they are done with the cambro and return it to dining services. Students who do not make the $10 deposit for the cambro can purchase with their meal a fully compostable to-go container, which they can compost back in the dining room, in the science academic building, or their residential houses. Compostable to-go cups for both cold and hot drinks and compostable straws are available for purchase as well.


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:

While there is a $10 deposit required when students (or faculty or staff) rent a cambro, the money gets returned to the renter when the renter returns the cambro and they are not charged for the container whenever they go through the dining services line. Students who choose to go with the reusable to-go container are essentially getting it for free, allowing them to better manage their dining services food budget.


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

As noted above, Dining Services is recognized for its 100% pre- and post-consumer composting, and internal departmental audits conclude that the department has achieved a 89% landfill diversion rate.


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

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.