Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.50
Liaison Mark Maxwell
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of California, Merced
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 6.33 / 8.00 Allajah Wheatley
Zero Waste Coordinator
Sustainability Department
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 124.66 Tons 156 Tons
Materials composted 60.75 Tons 0 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 233.40 Tons 178 Tons
Total waste generated 418.81 Tons 334 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:

UC Merced has a waste sorting line that is comprised of a team of eighteen students who collect recycle, compost, and landfill waste from all campus buildings excluding dining and housing facilities. Waste from each building and Ecubes, solar trash cans around campus, and are transported and separated into 24 categories. After separation, the recyclable materials are sold. Compostable materials are sent to a local compost facility. Non-recyclable or compostable material is sent to the landfill.

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2019 June 30, 2020
Baseline Period July 1, 2006 June 30, 2007

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

Baseline data is provided for FY 2006-2007 since the campus did not open until fall 2005. The performance year is FY 2017-2018. This data does not include campus construction and demolition.

Website URL: https://recycle.ucmerced.edu/reduce

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 3,600 400
Number of employees resident on-site 0 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 8,847 1,285
Full-time equivalent of employees 1,623 553
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 8,752.50 1,478.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.05 Tons 0.23 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 Yes
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 Yes
Tires Yes
Other (please specify below) Yes

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

Plastic film, toner, clothes, wood, food, metal and cardboard.

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:

UC Merced employs a team of eighteen students that sort through every single bag of trash, recycling, and compost. Any recyclable, compostable, and landfill material is sorted and separated into different bins before being sent to their appropriate facilities. Since all waste is sorted on-site, there is no contamination once compost, recyclables, and landfill materials leave the campus. This operation does not include Housing and Dining.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:

The campus EcoRep Program has provided informational sessions and presentations on waste diversion. These have been interactive sessions that have engaged students to learn about how to dispose of waste. The campus also provides Zero Waste Event training to campus constituency year-round.

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

Each month live waste tracking is posted and fiscally year waste audits are conducted to assess materials management efforts and each month's live waste tracking. If a month's waste tracking is higher than usual we access why and work to improve it.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

To reduce packaging and the environmental impact of multiple deliveries, there is a $75 minimum purchase for orders with our strategic office supplies partner. In addition, Procurement Services incorporated sustainability specifications and evaluation criteria into local contracting processes.

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

Once a month there is an office supplies exchange event where unused office supplies are dropped off and departments can pick up any items they need.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:

At UC Merced there is no such thing as free printing. All students are charged $0.04 to print in black and white and $0.08 to print in color on campus. This is true for all printing locations on campus, as well as mandated double-sided printing in libraries and computer labs.

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

The institution does not print course schedules or directories for any of its students, staff, or faculty. Those items can be found on the UC Merced website. As well as mandated doubled-sided printing in libraries and computer labs.

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

The campus held a campus move-out program for Spring 2019 move out and plan to continue to further develop it going forward. During the move-out program, we accepted donations from students and either recycled or repurposed what was donated. Some common items that were donated were clothes, food, mini-fridges, and school supplies.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:

Re-purposement of tables, chairs, and other furniture. Recycling employees use re-purposed bicycles. The surplus operation has furnished its operation exclusively on furniture, electronics, and shelving re-purposed from unwanted items. The recycling center has built and continues to build its operations on unwanted items to raise efficiency.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support 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.