Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.76
Liaison Richard Johnson
Submission Date Oct. 13, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Rice University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.98 / 8.00 Richard Johnson
Director of Sustainability
Facilities Engineering and Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 636.84 Tons 571.03 Tons
Materials composted 120 Tons 120 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,897.03 Tons 1,888.67 Tons
Total waste generated 2,653.87 Tons 2,579.70 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, 2015 Dec. 31, 2015
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2012 Dec. 31, 2012

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):

The university switched recycling providers in 2011, and switched to single stream recycling at that time. There is data missing from 2010, and 2011 represents a major process change, so the appropriate baseline is 2012.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2,852 2,824
Number of employees resident on-site 36 71
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 35 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 6,554.33 6,071.33
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 3,026.67 2,842
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 7,942.75 7,408.75

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.33 Tons 0.35 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 No
White goods (i.e. appliances) Yes
Laboratory equipment Yes
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets No
Tires Yes
Other (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of other materials the institution has recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold:

eWaste, laboratory chemicals

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:

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:

The Rice University EcoReps host an annual Green Dorm Initiative (GDI), a three-week campus-wide competition each spring semester that encourages Rice students to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Each day student participants are presented with a new daily challenge, along with background information to explain the environmental benefits of a change in habits related to that challenge. Each week of the competition also features a week-long challenge. Prizes were awarded based on either participation or performance. The categories of the 2016 challenges were water and energy, wellness, and waste.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:

In 2015, students led an independent waste audit that found that 35% of the waste stream was being recycled in the areas studied, and that this number could be improved by expanding the number of recycling bins. The results of their audit led to the purchase and placement of 367 new recycling bins (https://sustainability.rice.edu/campus-recycling-project).

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste (e.g. by minimizing packaging and purchasing in bulk):

Rice's IT Department oversees computer purchasing, and they recycle the computers that are removed from service at that time.

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

Whenever a lab gets shut down, the Environmental Health and Safety department will send out a memo to all of the other research labs who can take materials as necessary. This prevents unnecessary waste from the various labs on campus since the materials are being reused. This includes glassware and lab equipment in addition to the various chemicals and gasses that are unused.

The IT department has a similar program called rice classifieds that allows the IT department to offer electronic waste to the faculty. Once the off-site Rice IT center accumulates enough electronics, it then pallets the electronics and sells them in bulk on Rice classifieds. This gives professors and staff the opportunity to purchase these goods and use them instead of adding them to the landfill.

The university also organizes an office supplies swap where every department can donate unused or unwanted office supplies. These include everything from staplers and file folders to office chairs and cabinets. Students, faculty, and staff can then pick through the stuff and take what they want or need, preventing the stuff from being thrown away unnecessarily.

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):

Rice has an office Free-cycle program in which unused and unneeded office supplies are traded. Recycling bins are also available for empty batteries, old cellphones, empty toner and ink cartridges and electronics. (http://news.rice.edu/2016/08/01/popular-free-cycling-of-office-supplies-returns-aug-22/)

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):

There is no free printing at Rice University. Every student must pay per sheet printed when using any of the on-campus printers.

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:

All course catalogs and schedules are available only online. Students must log on to the Rice course catalog and sign up for classes through the registrar's website. No paper is used when looking up classes nor when registering for them.

Rice also switched from paper timesheets to online submittal timesheets. This is coupled with the requirement for direct deposit payment instead of receiving paper checks.

The office of procurement no longer accepts paper order forms, all requests must go through the online ordering system. This greatly reduces waste as previous order forms were 3 pages of carbon-paper per order. Now, no paper is generated as all orders are managed online.

All requests to housing and dining as well as environmental health and safety is through online submissions. Students, faculty and stuff do not need written requests for services nor repair anymore. Instead, the email or fill out the online form and the respective department will respond as necessary.

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

Rice students have their own Free-Cycle program created by residential College ecoReps. At the end of a semester or school year, students will trade clothes, books, and other dorm items. The items that are not picked up are then donated.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:

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:

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.