Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.58
Liaison James Gordon
Submission Date March 3, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Thompson Rivers University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.46 / 5.00 James Gordon
Environmental Programs and Research Coordinator
TRU Office of Environment and Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 222.66 Tons 0 Tons
Materials composted 93.70 Tons 0 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 6.34 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,333.54 Tons 991 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 0 0
Number of residential employees 0 0
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 8,315.18 5,702.50
Full-time equivalent of employees 979 872
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 3,403.18 1,866

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2013 Dec. 1, 2013
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2005 Dec. 1, 2005

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

A 2005 baseline was adopted for the 2011 Stars Report, and so in order to be consistent moving forward, it will be used again for this report.


A brief description of any (non-food) waste audits employed by the institution:

In the summer of 2014, small scale waste audits were conducted by a co-op research student for the TRU Office of Environment and Sustainability. The audits were conducted to compare the differences between contamination rates of single, stand-alone waste, recycling, and refundable bins compared to the use of a centralized Zero Waste station.


A brief description of any institutional procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

At TRU, the identification of equipment and other reusable materials that need to be disposed of is undertaken by every TRU department on a regular basis. The actual disposal of such equipment is the responsibility of Procurement Services. There are several ways to dispose of equipment. If replacement equipment needs to be purchased, then every effort is made to obtain a reasonable trade-in-allowance for the old equipment by selling it. In this case, Procurement Services would negotiate with the vendors interested in supplying the replacement equipment. To sell old goods, personnel fill out a Disposal of Obsolete & Surplus Goods Form and send it to Procurement Services. The Procurement Manager will then do one of the following to dispose of the unwanted equipment or materials: re-use it within another TRU dpartment; post the item for sale on BC Auction; offer the item to other educational institutions; donate it to charity, or dispose of it in an environmentally. Electronic waste goes to a recycling plant to be reused or disposed of environmentally responsible manner.
Raw materials (metals) are picked up and recycled. Paper documents and other paper related materials are recycled with the company Iron Mountain. All toner cartridges are recycled through Grand and Toy or sent back to the manufacturer.
Source: Julie Gemin, Procurement Manager, TRU


A brief description of any surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

If the item on the Obsolete Surplus Goods form shows working condition, it is posted for sale through BC Auction. Surplus non-working obsolete items get recycled through Encorp Recycling Corp.. They pick up in TRU Stores as and when required.
Source: Lisa Fiset, Purchaser, TRU


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

The university makes course catalogues, course schedules, and directories available online. Printed catalogues are available at an extra cost.


A brief description of any limits on paper and ink consumption employed by the institution:

Free printing does not occur at TRU photocopier stations in either the libraries or the Printshop. The current price per page is $0.10 and prints double-sided automatically. Students are required to bring their own paper to computer labs for printing, and can only print colour at the Printshop ($1.00 per page). All printing that occurs is doubled-sided by default and students are encouraged to use a size 11 font with one inch margins in order to reduce the amount of paper being printed. Students are also encouraged to read and edit journals online instead of printing.
Currently, no new desk-top printers will be bought for any staff member, unless a special exception warrants it (for example, if there is a mobility issue). Once all of the 250 current desk-top printers come to the end of natural life-cycle, they won't be replaced. Instead, all staff members will be encouraged to use the large, centrally-located multi-function printers. It has been proven in other institutions that employing this type of 'no desk-top printers' program cuts down on the amount of paper and ink used, since most people think twice before printing something since they now have to walk further to go collect it.


A brief description of any programs employed by the institution to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

Residence halls on campus currently run many programs to control waste at move-in and move-out. There is a donation bin that is outside of the main entrance year-round and during peak times the number of pick-ups increase. They host food drives for all leftover perishable food items and provide an 'item swap' event for students. They continually search for new ways to reduce waste produced during these times.
Source: Jacquie Saucier, Residence Services Supervisor.


A brief description of any other (non-food) waste minimization strategies employed by the institution:

TRU has signed onto the new pan-Canadian National Zero-Waste Council, and is taking aggressive steps to acheive the goal of becoming a zero-waste institution. It recently spend approximately $60,000.00 to buy 90 new zero-waste stations (with a 4 or 5 bin waste stream set-up) in order to help acheive this goal. In early Sept 2014 it hosted its first zero-waste event during the main student Orientation event. A comprehensive campus-wide zero-waste educational campaign is planned for early 2015 and continuing into the 2015-2016 school year.
Many offices around TRU use the simple 'Free box' strategy, by placing a cardboard box in the hallway outside their office with a "Free" sign attached to it. It's then filled with usable but unwanted items. Anyone is welcome to take what they want from them.


A brief description of any food waste audits employed by the institution:

Aramark food services is committed to reducing the amount of food waste produced. They weigh their discarded food materials in an attempt to look for solutions for reducing waste produced during production of food materials during the school year.


A brief description of any programs and/or practices to track and reduce pre-consumer food waste in the form of kitchen food waste, prep waste and spoilage:

Both main food preperation operations on campus--the TRU Culinary Arts program (CU), and Aramark--make a concerted effort to reduce pre-consumer food waste. CU is a professional chef training program, and so every effort is made to teach students the importnace of reducing food waste. Aramark regularly weighs all food waste in an effort to continuously look for efficiencies to try and reduce these waste.


A brief description of programs and/or practices to track and reduce post-consumer food waste:

The TRU Office of Environment and Sustainability will be conducting an audit of all campus waste streams during the school year in early 2015; with the intention of using this as a baseline with which to track its newly adopted Zero-Waste Strategy. Since compost is one of these waste streams, it will be tracked and, like the other waste streams, strategies and educational campaigns will be implemented moving forward to try and continuously reduce how much is composted.


A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable and/or third party certified compostable to-go containers for to-go food and beverage items (in conjunction with a composting program):

Common Grounds, the TRU Student Union run cafe/restaurant, uses only compostable to-go coffee cups and soup bowls. These to-go items will soon be able to be grinded up with a new industrial-strength grinding machine and put in the TRU composting program.


A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable service ware for “dine in” meals and reusable and/or third party certified compostable service ware for to-go meals (in conjunction with a composting program):

Along with what was mentioned above regarding Common Grounds and composting, both main food preperation operations on campus (TRU Culinary Arts program (CU), and Aramark), and, to a lesser extent, the student union run cafe/restaurant (Common Grounds), all offer regular reusable china and metal cutlery for many meal and catering functions.


A brief description of any discounts offered to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in to-go food service operations:

Common Grounds coffee shop offers a 50 cent discount to any students who bring their own reusable mugs. Culinary Arts offers a 15 percent discount for reusable mugs. Aramark, Starbucks, and Tim Horton's offers a 10 cent discount for bringing a reusable mug.


A brief description of other dining services waste minimization programs and initiatives:

The Culinary Arts building encourages TRU community members to dine-in by charging an additional fee to take "to go" food containers.


The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization initiatives is available:

Waste Generated
Materials Composted: Composting was introduced to campus in January 2014 and data was collected for 31 weeks on how much compost was being collected. This covered the Winter semester (January to April, at 1053.41 kg) and Summer period (May to August, at 821.63 kg). As data was not collected from September to December, 2014, the Winter semester values were doubled to account for this time period. The composting value also includes campus yard clippings.
Materials Recycled: This is a combination of cardboard recycling, curbside mixed recyling, electronics recycling, and scrap metal recycling. TRU has the potential to place out seventy recycling carts twice a week (each cart with a volume of 240 L), but not all carts are used each time. In order to calculate how much was recycled, an average from the casrts was taken (240x2/2). This accounts for each cart being full at least once per week, multiplied by 52 weeks.
2005 baseline figures for FTE for emplyees provided by Paul Archer, Manager, TRU HR Services.

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.