Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 81.30
Liaison Patrick McKee
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.67 / 8.00 Sarah Munro
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Policy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 754.69 Tons 985.36 Tons
Materials composted 1,000 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 514.34 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 3,468 Tons 5,362.50 Tons
Total waste generated 5,737.03 Tons 6,347.86 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, 2016 Dec. 31, 2016
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2005 Dec. 31, 2005

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):

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 12,699 11,524
Number of employees resident on-site 32 26
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 8 8
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 21,764 18,616
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 5,296.30 4,570.29
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 221 0
Weighted campus users 23,320.23 20,285.22

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.25 Tons 0.31 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
Laboratory equipment Yes
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires No
Other (please specify below) Yes

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

The University of Connecticut recycles mattresses each year, and recycled a total of 894 mattresses in 2016, up from 544 in 2015. This is in compliance with the Mattress Stewardship Law passed by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in 2013, which requires all mattress manufacturers to offer a recycling program for unwanted mattresses. Mattresses in Connecticut can also be reused or refurbished.

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) :
3.62 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:

The two main methods of recycling quality control that we have found to be effective are using “Saturn Lids” on the recycling bins and coupling recycling and garbage bins together. The Saturn Lids, pictured in a link below, have a slot that signifies paper should be discarded there, but also a circle in the middle of that slot that signified bottles and cans can also be placed in the same bin. Based on surveys of the general student body, we have found that the messaging of “single stream recycling” is often confused with the idea that all recycling and garbage can be placed in the same bin. The Saturn Lids eliminate this problem because the tops are shaped specifically so that only recyclable materials can fit inside.
Coupling recycling and garbage bins together also controls recycling quality because students are likely to dispose of their waste, whether it be recyclable or not, in the nearest receptacle. When both options are available in one spot, they are more likely to dispose of their waste properly.

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 of Connecticut Public Interest Research Group has been working hard on their student-run campaigned called “Ban the bottle.” Volunteers set up tables outside of dining halls providing information about the initiative and collecting signatures in support of the university to stop selling plastic water bottles in their cafes and student union market place. The campaign also distributes water bottle for free to incoming students, enabling them to refill their water from a water fountain instead of relying on purchasing plastic bottles. There are also movements for the installation of more “Hydration Stations” throughout campus, which offer clean, cold, and convenient water refill stations. There are currently over 25 located in various buildings, with plans to install 25 more. The university hopes to encourage students to use reusable water bottles as they stay hydrated throughout the day instead of one-time use, resource intensive, plastic water bottles. http://dailycampus.com/stories/2016/11/3/uconnpirg-works-to-ban-the-bottle
Another waste-related behavior change initiative is the advertisement of the Green Piece reusable food container that is offered in the Student Union Market Food Court. Students can opt for getting their meal in a reusable container called the “Green Piece”, which can then be placed in a receptacle in the food court. They can also be carried out of the food court and taken on the go. The containers are washed and reused in the same manner as plates in dining halls. As an incentive, students can purchase a Green Elite Card for $5 which takes 25 cents off per purchase when they use a Green Piece. This card pays for itself in 20 meals and can be carried over year after year.

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

The student group EcoHusky conducted a waste audit in the spring of 2015, where they sorted through trash and recycling from a dorm building to assess the contamination rate. They also aimed to categorize certain objects that were commonly mistaken for trash but were supposed to be recycled in order to focus our recycling initiatives in areas where the student body may be the most misinformed. http://ecohusky.uconn.edu/docs/about/2015%20Spring-Summer%20Newsletter.pdf
UConn Facilities conducted an audit in fall 2014 in two buildings on the main campus. The audit included three weeks of data collection (September 16th-October 6th). Facilities counted the number of trash vs. recycling bags as well as measured the weight of trash vs. recycling. Comparing the weight recycled vs. disposed of Laurel Hall revealed that the building had a 29% recycling rate. The School of Business had a 51% recycling rate. Following this study, new recycling labels and new mixed recycling bin lids were deployed.
Additionally, throughout the past several years, a student worker for Facilities and Operations has conducted waste and recycling audits regarding their availability and ease of use. Their main goal was to replace existing receptacles with a uniform and recognizable standard. In over 30 buildings throughout the campus core, they have worked hard to replace many colored containers that are left over from before UConn adopted single stream recycling, and can be confusing for the average student on the go.

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

Many offices across campus purchase snacks, coffee, and office supplies in bulk to share. This behavior is emphasized in the Green Office Certification Program, which guides offices in improving their sustainability.

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

The University Surplus Program allows UConn departments to send their unwanted equipment, furniture, and supplies to the Surplus Store where they will either be recycled or reused. There are showroom hours every Tuesday and Thursday during which UConn departments can peruse the supplies and tag which items they want. There are also public surplus store hours held the second Friday of every month for UConn and the surrounding community to come and buy the used supplies.

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):

The UConn bookstore has a variety of platforms in place that encourage the reuse of textbooks among students. For example, students can rent their textbooks for a reduced price which they return at the end of the semester. There are also used textbooks that students can buy at a reduced price instead of buying the brand new book. The bookstore will also buy back textbooks from students that can then be sold the next year. http://uconn.bncollege.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/BNCBRefundsView?langId=-1&storeId=88191&catalogId=10001

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):

The printers on campus cost 10 cents per black and white page and 35 cents per color page, and many computers across campus have double-sided printing as their default. Double sided printing and using print preview before printing in order to minimize the need for reprinting is a highlighted behavior change in the Green Office Certification Program offered to UConn offices to improve their sustainability.
The university instituted a program in 2014 called UPrint, whose goals are to make printing more efficient and productive in order to contribute sustainability initiatives on campus. Benefits of the program include reduction in energy usage and paper consumption. http://uprint.uconn.edu/about/

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 catalogs can be found online. They can be found on each department's website as well as compiled together on a single webpage.
Course schedules are managed through the PeopleSoft student administration system, which also handles enrollment.
Beginning in Spring 2012, teacher evaluations were available online for students to complete, reducing paper waste from hard copies.
Additionally, billing and account information is available online.

Beginning in Spring 2012, teacher evaluations were available online for students to complete, reducing paper waste from hard copies.

Additionally, billing and account information is available online.

Professors have the option to use an online website called HuskyCT, to which they can post all course materials, such as syllabi and readings. Students can also turn in assignments and papers digitally via HuskyCT
Course Catalogs and requirements are provided on each Department’s webpage.
All schedules, transcripts, fees, and other business are all handled online via the People Soft student administration system.
Each semester students submit teacher evaluations online.

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

At the end of each spring semester the UConn Community Outreach office hosts Give&Go, a program that diverts undergraduate move-out waste from being thrown away. The materials that are collected from the 14 drop off areas across campus are then donated to a variety of local charities. In 2016, a total of 7,231 pounds of donated goods were collected. This included:
Food: 269.2 lbs
Clothing: 866.75 lbs
Shoes: 144.1 lbs
Cleaning supplies: 38.8 lbs
Bedding/Linens: 340.1 lbs
Office Supplies: 107.5 lbs
Toiletries: 62.5 lbs
Household Items: 635.55 lbs
Furniture: 1281.45 lbs
Appliances: 650.25 lbs
Rugs: 515.4 lbs
Books: 100.1 lbs
Miscellaneous: 148.7 lbs
Electronics: 552.55 lbs
Fabric Recycling: 167.75 lbs
Additionally, Give&Go extended their efforts into July to collect from off campus housing move-out, and donated these goods to the Salvation Army.

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

41 hydration stations have been installed on campus, which promotes reusable water bottles.

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:

Notes about the submission (public):
Assume 1 cubic yard of landscape waste= ~650 kg
The weight value for materials reused, donated, or resold was not quantified for the 2005 baselines but the dollar value was $60,782

Notes about the submission (public):
Assume 1 cubic yard of landscape waste= ~650 kg
The weight value for materials reused, donated, or resold was not quantified for the 2005 baselines but the dollar value was $60,782

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.