Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 63.76
Liaison Levi Rogers
Submission Date March 10, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Skidmore College
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.39 / 8.00 Levi Rogers
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 215.25 Tons 107.32 Tons
Materials composted 4.50 Tons 0 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 438.18 Tons 660.57 Tons
Total waste generated 657.93 Tons 767.89 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:

Skidmore transitioned to a Zero-Sort recycling program in 2012. Zero-Sort recycling allows users to place all recyclable material (paper, cardboard, metals, glass, and plastics) in one bin. We made significant investments in infrastructure and training to ensure a smooth transition to the new waste program. Skidmore’s annual diversion rate has nearly doubled since the transition to Zero-Sort recycling.


Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year June 1, 2014 May 31, 2015
Baseline Year June 1, 2008 May 31, 2009

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):
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Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2134 2025
Number of employees resident on-site 5 6
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 2555 2554
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 922 906
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 3142.50 3102.75

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.21 Tons 0.25 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:
15.40

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:
33.40

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):
33.40

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 No
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets No
Tires Yes
Other (please specify below) No

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

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?:
No

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?:
No

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program (percentage, 0-100):
0

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:

Skidmore College transitioned to its Zero-Sort recycling program in 2012. During this transition, the College's waste hauler led several training sessions to ensure the Facilities Services team understood how to manage the new waste program and followed proper quality control tactics. The College also chose to use clear can liners for all recycling containers to allow staff members to visually audit each recycling bin and remove any contaminated bags before entering the recycling stream. Our waste hauler has not reported contamination since transitioning to our new waste program.


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:

Skidmore updated all campus waste signage when we transitioned to our Zero-Sort program. Since this transition, various efforts have been implemented to increase community awareness and use of our improved waste program. Every year, Skidmore conducts a campus waste audit on a central campus green to engage passers-by in conversations about recycling practices at Skidmore. Skidmore's Sustainability Representatives also survey community members to gauge community perception of our waste and recycling program. The S-Reps use survey data to develop targeted outreach and educational efforts to address confusion or common misconceptions.


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

Skidmore conducts two waste audits each year to identify opportunities to increase our diversion rate and minimize contamination. Each fall, the College conducts an on-campus audit where landfill-bound material is dumped onto our campus green and sorted by volunteers and Sustainability Representatives. We typically audit material from one academic building and one student residence area. Landfill and recyclable materials are sorted to provide a visual audit. The on-campus audit helps students, Facilities Services, and the Sustainability Office identify which recyclable items are commonly found in our landfill bins.

In the spring, two large waste bins are sorted at an off-site location. This allows the College to audit a greater amount of material and more accurately measure our progress toward our institutional diversion goal.


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

In 2016, Skidmore piloted a reusable package program. Now, the majority of office supplies are delivered in reusable boxes. These boxes are collected by our office supply vendor and reused for future orders. Skidmore is one of the first institutions to use this reusable box system, and it is now being adopted by other schools in the region.


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

Skidmore's purchasing office manages surplus material. The office sends campus-wide announcements with information about supplies or equipment that are available. If there is no interest in the materials, the College will store the items or donate the materials to local organizations.

The Purcashing Office also held it's first office supply swap in August 2016.


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):

Student groups frequently organize pop-up thrift shops and "free stores" to encourage the exchange and reuse of 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):

Skidmore's PaperCut program limits the amount of unwanted printing in our library. Students must release their print job from a queue at a central computer, preventing unwanted or incomplete documents from being released to a printer. Papercut will automatically delete any job that remains in the print queue after 30 minutes.

Many College printers and copiers are set to print double-sided documents.


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:

Skidmore's entire course catalog is available online.

Skidmore's faculty/staff directory is available online. The College no longer automatically prints College directories.


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

Give+Go is an annual move-out donation program designed to gather used goods that students leave behind and donate them to local and regional nonprofits where they can be reused or resold. This program diverts tons of material from entering the landfill and gives Skidmore students an opportunity to give back to their community. Over one hundred tons of material have been diverted from entering the landfill. Skidmore partners with Goodwill of New York and New Jersey and the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T.) which supports workers at the Saratoga Horse Racing Track.


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

Skidmore's Purchasing Office connects with regional organizations to find those in need of available items (such as desks, tables, chairs, beds, mattresses, phones, electronics, and more) during every campus renovation project.

Items that can be used by the College (desks, filing cabinets, chairs) are stored on campus and available to any faculty and staff member.


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