Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.01
Liaison Rebecca Walker
Submission Date April 13, 2022

STARS v2.2

Southern Oregon University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.31 / 8.00 Rebecca Walker
Sustainability Manager
Facilities, Management, Sustainability 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 529.80 Tons 225.90 Tons
Materials composted 0 Tons 54.68 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 2.04 Tons 5.04 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 238.10 Tons 276.20 Tons
Total waste generated 769.94 Tons 561.82 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 July 1, 2020 June 30, 2021
Baseline Period July 1, 2012 June 30, 2013

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

The baseline year was adopted because it is the first year we have a waste report available from the waste hauler. Baseline reporting started in the fiscal year of July 2012.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 779 1,008
Number of employees resident on-site 2 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site 115 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 3,501 3,913.80
Full-time equivalent of employees 568.30 635
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 788 22.50
Weighted campus users 2,771.23 3,646.73

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.28 Tons 0.15 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
Electronics Yes
Laboratory equipment No
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:

Southern Oregon University makes every effort to divert as much waste as possible from the landfill. While local access to recycling markets is limited, we have forged community partnerships to divert waste streams that would otherwise be headed to the landfill. While we divert many waste streams, such as tires, motor oil, surplus furniture, appliances, light bulbs, batteries, etc., there is no process in place to track the weight or volume of many of these materials, therefore some of them are not included in the figures reported above.

For other we have been diverting other waste streams for example marker pens at the end of life through a TerraCycle program.

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:

Southern Oregon University built a campus Recycling Center in 2011 that employs students to hand-sort through all campus recycling to remove any contamination, prior to sending our recycling to our local waste hauler, Recology. The University provides the cleanest recycling streams in the region due to the recycling center's attention to sorting in conjunction with communicating with the campus community about proper recycling. It also allows the recycling program to have a thorough understanding of what the most common contaminants are in order to provide targeted education and communication on campus. In 2020, the recycling center building was refurbished to allow more space and more materials as the campus population grows. The recycling center employees are also trained and asked to read the manual prior to working in the recycling center. This has allowed our employees to understand our waste streams in-depth and gain more knowledge about the processes.

The Facilities Management, Planning and Sustainability office employs a student Zero Waste Coordinator to conduct events and provide educational outreach for the campus on how to properly recycle and reuse. The Zero Waste Coordinator also helps to monitor the waste streams across campus to help reduce waste and contamination.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:

In 2020 the recycling center on campus was refurbished to better reflect the changing waste streams at SOU. The process was posted through the campus Sustainability Newsletter and on social media. https://sustainability.sou.edu/material-management-on-campus-and-sou-recycling-center-revamp/
SOU's recycling center uses social media (Facebook, Instagram) to also educate and was used to raise awareness around recycling and waste prevention. https://sustainability.sou.edu/news/ Instagram: @sustainability_sou and @sou_studentsustainability

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

SOU's last waste audit was in the 2018 academic year while working with the general education cohorts to perform 1-2 waste audits. Students from the GreenHouse class cohort partnered with the Recycling program to sort through the trash from various parts of campus to analyze what makes up our campus waste stream. Additionally, in 2021 SOU's Recycling center implemented a measuring and monitoring system in the building to more closely track what materials were being diverted. This system also tracks common contamination materials seen at the recycling center to then use the information to perform outreach.

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

Southern Oregon University's Sustainability and Equity Purchasing Procedure, adopted in 2020, contains procedures under environmental impacts to prevent waste, such as: A. Will the product or service reduce the number of items purchased through options to reduce amounts needed, leasing, sharing, and reusing existing products on campus? B. Has the following been considered? Durability, reusable, refillable, extended use, rechargeable, remanufactured, and recycled products where possible. Is the product or service made from materials obtained in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner?
Is the product or service non-toxic or minimally toxic, and preferably biodegradable?
Where appropriate, has the purchase considered bio-based products, fuels, and solvents?
Is the purchase avoiding the introduction or use of single-use items on campus?
Has the product or service been manufactured in an environmentally sound manner?
Does the product or service minimize the use of packaging material and use packaging material that is reused, reusable, recycled, or recyclable?
Does the product or service have minimal or no environmental damage during normal use or maintenance?
Is the product or service water and energy-efficient?
Have greenhouse gas emissions across the life cycle of the product or service been considered?
Is the product or service resilient to changes in the climate that we are experiencing?

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

The Facilities Management, Planning and Sustainability department partners with the campus recycling program to keep as much waste out of the landfill as possible. All office furniture is collected by surplus and reused on campus, donated to a non-profit organization, or sold through gov. deals whenever possible.

Used office supplies are collected by SOU Recycling and made available to all students, staff and faculty on the Free Stuff Shelf located in the student union.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:

The Student Sustainability Resource Center manages a Free Stuff Shelf in the Student Union. Although the shelf is mostly stocked with materials recovered from lost and found, campus users are invited to leave items for reuse on the shelf. There are also free stuff areas throughout campus where students and departments place available office supplies, books, or art supplies for individuals to reuse.

Additionally, there are several campus groups that partner each year to offer peer-to-peer exchange events. This includes clothing swaps from the Women's Resource Center, and the Outdoor Program hosts an annual ski and gear swap.

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

Free printing is not provided to students in computer labs on campus. Students pay for printing by the page. The Hannon Library and other printing stations around campus charge for all printing to encourage the conservation of resources. Additionally, all printer stations are automatically set to double-sided printing by default.

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

SOU has reduced the overall print of course catalogs, course schedules, or telephone directories. This shift became more largely accepted after distance learning from the pandemic. All of these materials are available online.

Processes have also changed so that Docu signs using online signatures and other online processes reducing the overall paper use.

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

SOU partners with Goodwill to divert move-out waste from the landfill through an annual move-out event. Several stations are set up in each residence hall for students to drop off their unwanted reusable/recyclable items during the move-out. Volunteers work at the stations to sort items into the appropriate bins. Materials that can be resold or recycled (textiles, electronics, books, etc.) are donated to Goodwill, helping to create opportunities for local people facing hardships to receive education, training, and career services. Other recyclables and garbage are sorted at SOU's Recycling Center. During move-in, the university provides additional dumpsters for cardboard and posts signs encouraging students and their families to recycle all cardboard. SOU adapted to this reuse process during COVID and was still able to divert move-out materials to Goodwill

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

Most campus buildings have one or more free tables/shelves/corners where students, staff and faculty can exchange items, including office supplies, books, art supplies, and other items that may otherwise have ended up in the landfill.

The university also collects all abandoned reusable bottles, thermoses, or mugs left around campus and gives them to the Student Sustainability Resource Center. Containers then get washed and then available to the campus community for free.

Refillable water bottle stations are also dispersed around campus.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support 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.