Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 50.71
Liaison Lisa Kawai
Submission Date June 22, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Soka University of America
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.25 / 8.00 Tom Harkenrider
Chief of Operations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 84 Tons 57 Tons
Materials composted 346 Tons 328 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 94 Tons 81 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 136 Tons 116 Tons
Total waste generated 660 Tons 582 Tons

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

Mixed waste is hauled by our waste contractor, CR& R to its San Juan Capistrano, CA Materials Recovery Facility: http://crrwasteservices.com/facilities/material-recovery-transfer-and-disposal-location/san-juan-capistrano-ca/
The diversion rate for this facility is 48% for compacted waste, and 57% for commercial bin waste. The source for these data is a personal communication from Craig Dibley, Sustainability Supervisor at CR&R. A copy of his letter is attached to our waste and diversion spreadsheet attached below.

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2016 June 30, 2017
Baseline Year Oct. 1, 2015 June 30, 2016

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):

Waste generation data is incomplete before October 2015, so baseline year information is incomplete at present.
Prior to October 2015, green waste, which comprises the majority of our waste diversion, was placed in a bin on-campus that was shared by other clients of our landscaping contractor, and so our contribution to that waste was not measured.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 434 448
Number of employees resident on-site 6 8
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 11 6
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 450 455
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 210 223
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 616 628.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 1.07 Tons 0.93 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 Yes
Tires Yes
Other (please specify below) No

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

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:

Currently, there are no procedures to monitor discard rates.

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:

In 2015, the Soka Student Union Sustainability Committee successfully passed the tupperware program which aimed to replace non-reusable to-go brown boxes from the cafeteria with reusable tupperware boxes. The purpose was to reduce university's waste stream. Under the tupperware program, each student gets a tupperware card. If students wants to pack food from cafeteria, they can exchange their tupperware card with tupperware box at the cafeteria. When they are done, students can exchange the tupperware boxes back with their tupperware cards. Dining staff is responsible to wash and maintain the tupperware boxes.

Furthermore, as described previously, there are recycling trash bins that are labeled with appropriate signage to inform what kinds of waste goes in which bin. For instance, there are compost bins for food and organic waste in the cafeteria, residential halls and Soka Instructional Garden. There are other receptacles at various places through out the campus to separate white paper, mixed paper, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles etc.

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

The Campus Sustainability Committee composed of students, faculty and staff initiate opportunities for improvement and review. University departments also have programs for identifying sustainability opportunities.

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


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

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):

The university sets the default on university printers to print on both sides of the paper.

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 schedules are sent online to the students, through emails, for each semester before registration opens. They, along with other forms and documents from academics, human resources, financial aid, student affairs, career services etc. are available online through "portal.soka.edu". The various university departments and student government use Qualtrics, an online survey software tools, to distribute surveys and forms. The Soka portal also contains several other online tools such as Brightspace, online scheduler, campus calendar, student employment functions, just to name a few. To sum up, Soka Portal is a one-stop place to obtain/access university related resources. SUA does distribute hard copies of course catalogs each year to all the students but they are also available online.
Furthermore, Soka Student Union(SSU) Executive Council (EC) and class representatives (Class Senate) along with other student committees such as SSU Sustainability Committee, Club Senate emphasize on using electronic methods for formalities and records. For instance, to request fundings from EC, Class Senate Treasurer submit a picture of purchasing receipts and digital financial forms. Applications for SSU leadership positions are also digital and are sent through emails.

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

The university provides and collects bins during move-in/move-out periods from the residence halls. CR&R, the university's waste hauler, claims that 57% of this waste is recycled via residual conversion.

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:

Detailed data spreadsheet for the university's waste produced, diverted and recycled has been attached to this credit form.
Soka University of America partners with the International Environmental Alliance (IEA) to manage its solid waste, hazardous waste and universal waste. The university's contracted waste hauler to manage solid waste is CR&R.
Refer to the sections 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.4, 2.1.5, 2.1.9, 2.1.11, 2.1.12, 2.1.17 of the attached 2016 Soka Sustainability Report to obtain information regarding waste related sustainability initiatives and programs.

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.