Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 83.37
Liaison Ruairi O'Mahony
Submission Date Feb. 11, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Massachusetts Lowell
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.36 / 8.00 Nicole Kelly
Sustainability 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 146.25 Tons 248 Tons
Materials composted 99 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 12 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 399 Tons 1,896 Tons
Total waste generated 656.25 Tons 2,144 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2020 June 30, 2021
Baseline Period July 1, 2007 June 30, 2008

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

The university started it's recycling program the year our baseline was addressed.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 3,751 2,248
Number of employees resident on-site 9 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site 4 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 15,501 8,548
Full-time equivalent of employees 1,707 1,255
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 12,978 825
Weighted campus users 4,116.50 7,295.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.16 Tons 0.29 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 No
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:

UMass Lowell also recycles mattresses through a local organization called the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC). UTEC is a Lowell-based youth services organization that picks up, deconstructs and recycles mattresses and part of it's workforce training program for proven risk youth.

The university has an extensive electronics recycling program and it is free for campus members to utilize.

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:

The university's waste hauler, Casella Waste Solutions, developed clear signage that allow building occupants to easily identify proper disposal of items. In addition, due to Casella's back-end recycling sorting program, contamination is minimized and material recovery is high.

Casella sends all of it's single stream recyclables to its sorting facilities. They split the co-mingled materials into their respective streams before sending off for material conversion. You can learn more by visiting this https://www.casella.com/services/recycling/zero-sort-recycling or viewing this detailed video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_U6UuFLEGQ

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

The university actively works with students to teach them how to recycle and is consistently working to improve signage and containers across campus. Game-day recycling events hosted in partnership between athletics and sustainability are held to encourage recycling practices, provide education around recycling, and engage with fans to promote campus sustainability initiatives.

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

Waste Audits are regularly conducted by student and professional staff members. There is a dedicated student position focused on auditing campus facilities and infrastructure, as well as identifying and reporting waste issues.

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

UMass Lowell's Sustainability Initiative and Design Guidelines provides recommendations for preferred building material purchasing. The guidelines promote the purchase of materials with recycled content – either post-consumer or pre‐consumer recycled content as well as materials that are manufactured “locally,” within 500 miles.

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

UMass Lowell reuses surplus materials, furniture, and equipment in-house but does not currently track weight. Surplus program development is underway and tracking metrics will be included.

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

UMass Lowell encourages reuse of materials, equipment, and furniture on campus instead of disposing of them. Campus departments, project management, and sustainability coordinate reuse efforts prior to decommission of equipment.

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

UMass Lowell's UPrint policy is a green initiative that aims to reduce paper and ink waste by eliminating unwanted and excess printing. UPrint is a software solution, a package called Pharos Uniprint, which is utilized by all 5 campuses in the UMass System and most Massachusetts public universities. UMass Lowell's libraries also host several online databases with resources that are not in print and only available online.


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

UMass Lowell has upgraded its integrated network to Microsoft Teams which allows students, faculty, and staff to communicate and interact entirely through the software. Microsoft Teams and Zoom platforms have been encouraged to connect campus community members through remote work, and has also saved resources by sharing and storing documents digitally within Teams or Sharepoint.

UMass Lowell has made many strides to limit printing paper. Some illustrative examples are listed:
• For UMass Lowell offices there has been a large Document Imaging campaign encouraging people to digitize their paper files and store everything digitally. http://www.uml.edu/IT/DI/Intro-DI.aspx
• In the academic setting, the university uses program such as Turnitin, Blackboard, Wikispaces, and clicker technology to reduce the number of paper quizzes handouts necessary. Most classes are run with limited paper because of this.
• Nearly all academic departments and research groups have shared drives and file servers to make sharing and editing files digitally seamless and secure. http://www.uml.edu/IT/News-Events/Shareit.aspx & http://www.uml.edu/IT/Services/Get-connected/File-Shares.aspx
• UMass Lowell is improving software access so all can be guaranteed to have the capacity to work digitally with the VLabs program. http://www.uml.edu/IT/Services/vLabs/default.aspx

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

UMass Lowell works to reduce residence hall waste by hosting move-in and move-out recycling programs, encouraging and assisting campus community members to separate their waste at dumpsters. At the conclusion of every semester the Office of Sustainability hosts move-out collection drives and donates all reusable material to Lowell organizations. Any unusable material is sorted and handled through the appropriate waste stream, prioritizing landfill diversion.

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

UMass Lowell has programs in place to recycle: paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum, tin, steel, toner cartridges, lawn and yard waste, scrap metal, C&D waste, white goods, electronics & computers, batteries, vegetable oil, fluorescent lamps, waste oil, lab glass, ballasts, silver, empty metal drums & soil; also note: UMass Lowell Toxic Use Reduction Institute is expanding waste minimization beyond campus borders.

UMass Lowell operates a Free-Cycle program which is a student-run operation where school and office supplies are dropped off at central locations. Students have full access to pick-up or drop-off items as they please. The Free-Cycle program has given access to notebooks, binders, etc. that otherwise would have ended up in landfill.

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

UMass Lowell has a well-developed Recycling & Waste Diversion program in place. The university’s primary goal is to reduce our overall output of waste. The majority of recycling occurs through our Zero-Sort program including all mixed paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum, tin and steel. Every effort is made to find a local organization to accept our materials and we prefer to only use organizations that are R2 certified or equivalent. Collection bins with clear signage are located throughout the university and picked up regularly.

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.