Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.66
Liaison Mark Lichtenstein
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.34 / 8.00 Sue Fassler
Sustainable Facilities Manager
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 77.16 Tons 55.52 Tons
Materials composted 16.06 Tons 24 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 116.27 Tons 158.99 Tons
Total waste generated 209.49 Tons 238.51 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 April 1, 2019 March 30, 2020
Baseline Period April 1, 2018 March 31, 2019

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:
ESF initiated its Path to Zero Waste program in August 2019 and launched a campus wide (Syracuse Campus) composting initiative, purchased new, consistently labelled hallway trash, recycling and compost bins, and swapped 10 gallon office trash bins for 1.15 gallon mini bins. The 2018-2019 baseline year captures a snapshot of the material stream prior to these new operations. These reporting time frames (April-March) also align with GreenNY state reporting mandates.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 556 538
Number of employees resident on-site 10 9
Number of other individuals resident on-site 12 1
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 1,878.60 1,911.60
Full-time equivalent of employees 563.50 418
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 10 2
Weighted campus users 1,977.57 1,883.45

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.11 Tons 0.13 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 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:
Fluorescent light bulbs

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:
Custodial and grounds staff members collect trash, recycling, and compost on campus. They properly sort any material that has been obviously placed in the incorrect bin.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:
During the early summer of 2019, the College conducted a bin audit at its Syracuse campus to better understand why recycling rates were only on par with the national average (34%). The audit showed that most buildings on campus had over 20 different types of unlabeled trash and recycling bins. In August 2019, ESF purchased new, consistently designed and labelled trash, recycling, and compost hallway bins at the Syracuse campus. Traditional 10 gallon office trash bins were replaced with 1.15 gallon mini bins. All hallway and office bins are labelled and include educational signage. Student clubs on campus served as "trash talkers" and stood by Cafe bins to help their peers understand what belongs in each bin.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:
Each year, student clubs conduct a waste audit on the quad during Earth Week. These clubs hope to conduct more frequent waste audits (at least once a semester) in the future. This was planned during 2020 prior to the pandemic. ESF classes also participate in waste audits. Post pandemic, ESF operational staff (custodial and grounds) also hope to conduct waste audits every summer. Paired with student audits during the semester, this should give the College a firm understanding of its material stream at all times during the year.

The College also signed the Post Landfill Action Network's (PLAN) Break Free From Plastic Pledge in February 2020. ESF has now formed the Break Free From Plastics Work Group, composed of faculty, staff members, and students. This group is systematically identifying single use plastics at the College that can be removed and replaced with more durable alternatives.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:
1 - College Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling Policy

2 - Sustainable Materials and Supplies Purchasing Policy

College Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling Policy


"The materials, supplies, equipment, and furniture used in a building all contribute to the quality of the environment as a whole as well as the indoor environment of the building itself. The environmental impact of these products can be reduced by purchasing materials that have been salvaged, recycled, are rapidly renewable, contain certified wood, or are manufactured locally. SUNY ESF has committed to reducing the environmental impact of materials and supplies including office paper, office equipment, furniture, furnishings, and building materials through the purchasing criteria stated in this policy."

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:
The “Property Control” program at ESF manages a list of surplus items. These surplus items are offered to other departments on campus and to other NYS institutions. The property control program can also obtain surplus items from other state institutions.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:
The Property Control Officer emails Property Control Designees in each department whenever an item becomes available for repurpose on campus. In mid 2021, these items will be showcased on the College's newly relaunched website. This will better enable members of the campus community to see what is available for their use in their campus spaces.

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:
ESF limits students to 500 pages of printed material per year. If the student runs out of printing credits, they can purchase additional credits.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials available online by default rather than printing them:
ESF takes steps to avoid printing out hard copy materials. All course catalogs, students’ schedules, and directories are online. Students can access this information via the registrar’s website, Myslice and the ESF online directory.


A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:
- Students moving out are encouraged to donate unwanted non-perishable food items to Beth’s Bounty Food Pantry.

- Students moving out are encouraged to donate unwanted household and clothing items to the “Ten Tons of Love” program.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:
- Upholstered furniture and mattresses scheduled for replacement, but in good usable condition, are donated to Catholic Charities for use in shelter facilities and housing initiatives.

- Replacement of common area furniture is focused on segmented pieces that allow for replacement or repair of one section of the furniture item rather than replacing the entire piece.

- Hardwood furniture in student units is sent to the Stickley company for repair and refinishing for continued use.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts 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.