Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 56.45
Liaison Bambi Ingram
Submission Date Feb. 7, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alabama at Birmingham
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.76 / 8.00 Nick Ciancio
Sustainability Program Coordinator
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 543 Tons 0 Tons
Materials composted 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 157 Tons 216 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 2,016.07 Tons 3,828 Tons
Total waste generated 2,716.07 Tons 4,044 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:
not applicable

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2018 Dec. 31, 2018
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2007 Dec. 31, 2007

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):
2007 was the first fiscal year where UAB started to collect recycling data.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 3,087 1,500
Number of employees resident on-site 6 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 1,157 908
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 19,254 13,720
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 18,691 18,808
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 4,929 0
Weighted campus users 26,692.25 25,679

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.10 Tons 0.16 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 No
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:
UAB has a lab recycling program that allows labs to recycle polystyrene, alkaline batteries, and X-ray film. UAB Green Labs also has a "glass shop" of lab-grade donated glass that researchers supply. New researchers to UAB are encouraged to use the "glass shop" instead of purchasing new glass. UAB also has an enterprise-wide ink and toner cartridge recycling program.

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:
For lab recyclable material, laboratories have collection sites in their labs—this allows the lab recycling team to go directly to the source of contamination and correct their recycling methods. In our lab recycling program, this tactic has near eliminated contamination of lab materials that are recyclable.

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:
The university's recycling program has deployed recycling signage on most recycling receptacles indicating what specific items can be recycled. The university's green labs program has also hosted competitions where labs are encouraged to properly recycle laboratory equipment and reuse consumables as much as possible. Participants were also encouraged to change from disposable gloves to recyclable gloves.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:
The university has installed over 20 dumpster cameras to monitor what is being thrown out and how full the dumpsters are when they are being tipped. This allows UAB to reduce emissions associated with the transportation of the trucks that service the dumpsters while also allowing UAB to assess how many recyclable items are being sent to the landfill. These have quickly provided UAB with enough information to realize that many building's are generating cardboard waste, but the cardboard isn't being recycled. This is an area for improvement and has fostered a discussion as to how we can provide better and easier ways to recycle cardboard waste at these facilities.

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):
UAB's Surplus Warehouse allows researchers to send equipment, furniture, and other goods are stored in a warehouse on campus. Faculty and Staff are able to receive items from Surplus for their offices, labs, classes, etc. What isn't taken by UAB affiliated individuals goes up for public auction.

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):

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:
Course schedules are solely online unless students explicitly request advisors to print them. UAB Directory is an online database of all faculty, staff, students, and buildings. There are no paper copies as this is a sole electronic resource.

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:
As described in EN-5, UAB Student Housing and Residence Life hosts a 'Move Out, Don't Throw Out' Campaign in partnership with UAB Sustainability. Items are collected from students when they are moving out of residence halls (furniture, cleaning supplies, etc.) and are donated to organizations that assist members of the community who are in need of the aforementioned supplies.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:
As part of LEED certification, UAB requires new construction vendors to divert 75% of waste generated at new construction sites. This includes any steel, concrete/asphalt, etc.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives 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.