Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.58
Liaison Derek Nichols
Submission Date Dec. 14, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University at Buffalo
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.66 / 8.00 Erin Moscati
Environmental Educator
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 1,673.37 Tons 2,611 Tons
Materials composted 180.10 Tons 109 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 14.50 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 2,487.69 Tons 2,505.60 Tons
Total waste generated 4,355.66 Tons 5,225.60 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 April 1, 2017 March 31, 2018
Baseline Year July 1, 2011 June 30, 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):

FY 2012 was the implementation of single stream recycling at UB.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 7,844 7,600
Number of employees resident on-site 0 220
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 28,125 23,583
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 6,848 5,573
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 219 0
Weighted campus users 28,026.50 23,822

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.16 Tons 0.22 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) Yes

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

Carpet, ceiling tile, mattresses

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) :
3 Tons

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:

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:

UB has created a strategic plan to move the university toward Zero Waste. Our goal is to reduce the amount of physical waste that is produced across our campuses. The plan specifically focuses on how to improve UB’s campus-wide recycling diversion rate and expand composting opportunities.

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

Waste audits are conducted on campus as a way to investigate and spot-check diversion activities in specific areas. Waste audits are conducted after specific events, if contamination is suspected an attempt is made to problem solve and rectify undesirable behaviors. UB Sustainability staff works with students to conduct waste audits, and provides training in sorting and safety procedures. We also utilize the resources provided through our membership with the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN).

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

UB Sustainability and UB's Contracts and Purchasing department work together to include waste minimization language into contracts wherever feasible.

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

UB SWAP is designed to efficiently and effectively aid campus departments in redistributing equipment and supplies throughout the UB campus. The purpose of this password protected website is not to replace existing surplus procedures but to give UB Faculty and Staff another option. The main intent of this website is to advertise items to encourage reuse at no cost or for a nominal fee.

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):

Current UB students, faculty and staff receive a certain number of pages they can print for free at public computing sites per semester. This is called your "UB Quota." You may print from a computing sites computer or your own computer.

Your UB Quota is the equivalent of:
650 single-sided black and white pages for each of the Fall and Spring semesters.
200 single-sided black and white pages for the Summer semester, only if enrolled in Summer semester courses.
100 single-sided black and white pages for Winter semester, only if enrolled in Winter semester courses

UB Quota does NOT roll over; a new quota is received each semester and efforts are underway to decrease the overall quota.

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:

Our undergraduate catalog is available only on-line, although there is a printable pdf version for those who want to print it themselves. We do not have a central graduate catalog. Our course schedule is not printed, and is only available on-line (no printable version). Similarly, course descriptions are only available on-line via HUB.

In addition, the Alumni magazine and nearly all school publications are predominately available only on-line.

The UB Directory is not printed, and is only available online.

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

UBReUSE is a student-run campus waste diversion program supported by UB Sustainability and Campus Living. The program captures goods during move-out, that are useful, but no longer wanted or needed by their owner. UBReUSE's goal is to connect these materials with new owners and reduce the amount of stuff going to landfill.

Bins and boxes have been placed in all areas to receive clothing and non-perishable food. They will be donated to the City Mission and other local charitable organizations.

In several residence halls, various locations have been identified where students may leave any usable items – furniture, appliances, rugs, shelving materials - anything that can be re-used. Items may be claimed by anyone who can use them.

The battery recycling program is being done at all “Area Offices" within residential halls.


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:

The University at Buffalo waste diversion efforts are far reaching, and include comprehensive campus-wide single stream recycling and a pre-consumer compost collection program.

UB's recycling program started out in the 1970's and continued until the early 1980's before fading out from lack of interest. Recycling was re-instated in the late 1980's by a group of inspired students with University Facilities support. Their program targeted the best sites for computer and office waste paper. The paper was collected by the students and sorted at a campus loading dock. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work but it resulted in recycling only 5% of UB's solid waste stream.

A few years later, the program was "institutionalized" and became the full responsibility of University Facilities paid staff. By 1995, recycling was extended to all offices on both campuses with the distribution of under-the-desk recycling bins and "trash buddies." In the meantime, Campus Living developed its own recycling program for UB residence halls. UB Campus Dining & Shops developed a recycling program for its food service areas as well.
During the spring 1998 semester, six students participated in an internship which included a campus-wide dumpster dive and a study of recycling potential in UB's residence halls. The dive and study showed the potential for major improvements in campus recycling programs. During 1999 and 2000 public area recycling stations were established in select high-traffic indoor public areas on campus, e.g. lobbies, lounges, walkways. Over 100 public area stations were deployed in various locations throughout UB's two campuses in 2001. In 2011, UB consolidated its three individually managed recycling contracts into a one comprehensive contract for all areas of campus. It was also at this time, that the campus moved to single stream or All In One recycling collection to simplify the program for members of campus. This has resulted in significant improvements in promoting participation in our recycling program. Currently, UB recycles over twenty different materials on campus.

UB is also committed to reducing the amount of disposable materials purchased and consumed on our campuses and has undertaken several initiatives to support this approach. Initiatives include eliminating the use of Styrofoam take-out containers in campus-run dining halls, and operating UB SWAP, a web-based program which encourages faculty and staff to keep unwanted equipment and furniture in circulation across campus.

A campus-wide ZERO WASTE strategic plan was developed by an interdisciplinary committee in Feb 2014. This document continues to guide us as we move forward.

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.