Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.11
Liaison Elizabeth Drake
Submission Date April 19, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Swarthmore College
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.81 / 8.00 Aurora Winslade
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials composted 244.20 Tons 179 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 11 Tons 14 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 670 Tons 760 Tons
Total waste generated 925.20 Tons 953 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):

Many of these numbers come from the recycling report to the PA DEP each year. Other numbers are collected through facilities, ITS, and Maintenance. The number for the performance year were gathered in the fall of 2016 as a part of the waste characterization study that is reassessing the waste system currently implemented at Swarthmore. Baseline year numbers for 2012 were used as a point of comparison in the waste characterization study.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 1,464 1,443
Number of employees resident on-site 0 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 1,619.30 1,552
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 863 713
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 2,227.73 2,059.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.42 Tons 0.46 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) 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:

Waste characterization studies implemented to help monitor Swarthmore's waste stream in Fall 2016.

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:

Swarthmore is current in the process of reevaluating Swarthmore's waste management system in efforts to divert 90% of waste from landfills and incineration. To accomplish this, potential projects that may be implemented include compactors for recycling and trash and the addition of a cardboard compactors to campus facilities.

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

The Green Advisors at Swarthmore have conducted a number of waste audits in the previous three years. In Fall 2016, a waste characterization study was conducted to gather information on recycling, composting, and waste production, as well as contamination. Consultants were brought in to help conduct this study and to begin to develop a new waster plan for Swarthmore. The College additionally receives feedback from the compost company used for the institution, Kitchen Harvest, on contamination numbers.

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):

Trash2Treasure (T2T) is an annual yard sale that allows students to donate unwanted, re-usable items that would otherwise be discarded upon move-out. The sale provides discounted items to community members and contributes proceeds to local charities and other organizations. This year’s sale will include some important changes to streamline conditions for EVS staff and to ensure the continuing diversion of waste away from the Chester incinerator.

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):

All printing is set to double sided default settings. When printing posters or anything with colored ink in the Media Center, students must release their prints and are limited to the amount they are able to print.

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:

The college directory, and course schedules are only online. Course catalogs are available online through the Registrar's Office website. All printing for public printers is set to a default setting to print double sided.

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

Trash to Treasure collects any goods and material students leave during move out to sell at the end of each year. As part of T2T, there is a book reuse program in which low-income students can go to the library and rent.

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:

Baseline year for this submission was 2012 (numbers used from 2012 STARS report) while performance year was 2015. Data for 2016 is still being compiled fully.

Recycling values are not included in this credit since we believe the current numbers we have don't accurately represent the actual number of recyclables Swarthmore produces.

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.