Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.35
Liaison Christa Rieck
Submission Date Nov. 23, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Houston
OP-23: Waste Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.70 / 3.00 Gabriel Durham
Graduate assistant
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Materials diverted from the solid waste landfill or incinerator:
1,063.40 Tons

Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator :
3,461.85 Tons

A brief description of programs, policies, infrastructure investments, outreach efforts, and/or other factors that contributed to the diversion rate, including efforts made during the previous three years:

A Big Belly installation program was undertaken over the past two years. The Big Belly trash and recycling units have helped increase the visibility of the recycling program and have directly contributed to the increase in recycled materials being diverted from the landfills.

Additionally, the University of Houston Office of Sustainability hosted the annual RecycleMania competition February 1 through March 28, 2015. UH placed fifth out of 23 participating schools in Texas in the Gorilla category, which focuses on schools that recycle the highest combined gross tonnage of paper, cardboard, bottles and cans. The University collected 205,340 pounds of materials. Nationally, UH came in 94th place in the gorilla category out of 308 schools. The results were announced Monday, April 13. Besides the gorilla category, UH competed in four other categories: waste minimization, corrugated cardboard, per capita classic and grand champion. A link to the detailed report can be found in the notes section.

UH Property Management also is committed to guidelines that contribute significantly to waste diversion stating the following: "All property in excess of the needs of the department can be transferred to the Surplus Property warehouse. That way, another department may use the existing property rather than having to make a new purchase. Surplus items also may be disposed of via auction or recycling, as deemed appropriate by Property Management. (See Property Management’s Website, UH Department procedures for Transfers to Surplus Property)."

While, many of the below mentioned recycling items are also recycled on campus, we do not collect quantitative data for it.

A brief description of any food donation programs employed by the institution:

All produce grown by the Campus Community Garden is donated to local food banks.

In Fall 2015, UH students launched a Campus Kitchens program, which collects unused food from both UH dining halls and serves it to Houstonians. As of October 8, students recovered more than 700 pounds of unused food (that otherwise would go to waste). They estimate that more than 1,000 pounds will be recovered by the end of October.

A brief description of any pre-consumer food waste composting program employed by the institution:

A brief description of any post-consumer food waste composting program employed by the institution:

The Campus Community Garden currently has 3 active compost piles. All food waste from the Office of Sustainability is captured for use in the compost. Garden staff also collect coffee grounds from campus coffee shops to further contribute to the compost. The data of what is composted is not captured.

All biodegradable waste from the Campus Community Garden (dead plants, lawn clippings, husks from harvesting, etc.) also are included in the compost piles.

Does the institution include the following materials in its waste diversion efforts?:
Yes or No
Paper, plastics, glass, metals, and other recyclable containers Yes
Food donations Yes
Food for animals No
Food composting No
Cooking oil Yes
Plant materials composting Yes
Animal bedding composting No
Batteries Yes
Light bulbs ---
Toner/ink-jet cartridges 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
Motor oil Yes
Tires ---

Other materials that the institution includes in its waste diversion efforts:

Materials diverted include:
Single stream recycling: 758.8 tons
Grounds composting: 240 tons
Grease: 54.6 tons
Battery scrap metal: 6 tons
Vehicle lubricants and filters: 4 tons

Other materials are recycled and reused, but the data is not collected. The campus kitchens and community garden waste diversion data are not included in the waste diversion numbers.

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.