Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 50.11
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date Jan. 21, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

University of Louisville
OP-18: Waste Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.33 / 3.00 Aaron Boggs
Asst Dir Phys Plant Maint
Physical Plant
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Materials recycled, composted, reused, donated, re-sold, or otherwise diverted :
1,775 Tons

Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator :
2,231 Tons

A brief description of programs, policies, infrastructure investments, outreach efforts, and/or other factors that contributed to the diversion rate:

Single Stream Recycling
In 2009, Request for Proposal (RFP) was written to solicit a vendor who could accept all recyclable items in a "single stream" method. Single Stream recycling is the term used for a system in which all recyclable items can be mixed together during the collection stage and then sorted off-site. Education, training and support by the potential vendor were a large part of the RFP. Two firms submitted proposals and QRS Inc. was chosen to become the University’s recycling vendor.

In this system, every office, classroom and common area has a container for mixed recyclables. Custodial staff is responsible for collecting the materials and placing them into the recycling dumpster. An eight yard, single stream recycling dumpster is placed by each garbage dumpster on all three of our campuses. Recycling dumpsters are emptied according to a schedule that is dictated by how often they are full. This may be daily in some cases and every two weeks in others. The recycling truck then takes the items to a Mixed Recycling Facility where items are separated by a mix of automation and manpower. Recyclables are then grouped by commodity and sold to processors.

Garbage Reduction Program/Mini-Bin
Coupled with the recycling initiative is a garbage reduction program. This program consists of a desk-top garbage can that is called a "Mini Bin." The Mini Bin is about one quart in size and includes a lid. The receptacle has a slogan on the side that reads "This is all the GARBAGE I make!" The university is in the process of replacing all seven to ten gallon sized desk-side garbage cans with the Mini Bin. The smaller desk-top can is for any items that cannot be recycled in the single stream system. The idea being that most items that were considered trash now can be recycled. The small size of the Mini Bin causes one to think about what they are trying to dispose of and whether the item is recyclable. In the new program, each individual is responsible for emptying their Mini Bin container.

Computer equipment is mostly re-purposed throughout the university or passed to university affiliates, such as the Scholar House, as long as it continues to be useful. Once equipment reaches "end-of-life" it is sold through the University Inventory Control department for recycling of materials.

Chemical purchases can often be reduced by borrowing and sharing chemicals between laboratories. Departments are encouraged to exchange chemicals whenever possible and utilize the excess supplies held by the Department of Environmental Health & Safety (DEHS). Not all the chemicals picked up by DEHS are a waste. Many are only partially used and have not exceeded their shelf life or been altered in any way. Others are unused and still in the original sealed container. In some cases, these chemicals can be used by someone else at the university. Reusable chemicals collected by DEHS are brought to the central accumulation area, recorded, segregated, and held for redistribution instead of disposal. Each chemical may be reviewed prior to acceptance. The person who receives the chemical is responsible to determine the suitability of the chemical for their use.

Materials Exchange
The Department of Purchasing (Surplus Division) maintains a website that allows authenticated campus users to post items that have a reuse value to the site and made available to any other campus user that could use the products for official university use. This site can be used for virtually any product. A recent category was created on this site specifically for the purpose of making available packaging materials received during the course of deliveries. The intent of the materials exchange is to increase the reuse of items and to divert the goods from the recycling dumpster or waste stream.

The Department of Housing & Residential Life organizes an annual campus-wide "Swap Shop" for the exchange of useful items in order to reduce the amount of materials sent to landfill during move-out times. Any unclaimed items are donated to charity.

The University of Louisville Grounds Maintenance Department utilizes selected green waste created from the care of the lawns, landscape and trees on Belknap campus to create compost/mulch. This includes chipped/shredded tree limbs, shrub trimmings and leaves. These items are "tub ground" once or twice per year in an effort to decrease their size and combine the materials. They are then put into piles based on their age and turned regularly to aerate the materials. Irrigation for the operation is supplied by rainfall. After the items have decomposed to a satisfactory state, they are utilized on campus as mulch/compost or given to the university community.

UofL began on-site composting of pre-consumer food waste from its Belknap campus dining facilities in July 2010. The composting program involves employee and student volunteers and is designed to be educational and coordinated with the campus Garden Commons project.

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.