Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.84
Liaison Morgan Hartman
Submission Date Dec. 12, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Nebraska - Lincoln
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.02 / 8.00 Morgan Hartman
Recycling Coordinator
FMO
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 2,601.52 Tons 3,273.38 Tons
Materials composted 0 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 2,377.07 Tons 2,990.70 Tons
Total waste generated 4,978.59 Tons 6,264.08 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:
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Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period Jan. 1, 2019 Dec. 31, 2021
Baseline Period Jan. 1, 2013 Dec. 31, 2013

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:
The baseline of 2013 was decided as it is when we have the valid and the most reliable data available.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 7,189 8,192
Number of employees resident on-site 0 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 21,055 20,880
Full-time equivalent of employees 5,896 6,006
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 410 109
Weighted campus users 21,703 22,130.75

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.23 Tons 0.28 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:
18.96

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:
52.25

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):
52.25

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:
UNL has also recycled, composted, donated, and/or re-sold spent ink and toner cartridges, paperback and hardcover books, broken pallets and scrap wood waste (i.e. tress, branches, etc.), concrete, asphalt, light bulbs, mercury items, oil filters, antifreeze, batteries, ballasts, and motor oil.

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year:
92.51 Tons

Does the institution use single stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
No

Does the institution use dual stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
No

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
Yes

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:
16.50

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:
UNL is in the process of standardizing recycling operations on campus through the use of standardized waste containers within campus buildings (see explanation of Recycling Pilot Project/All in the Hall program below). The standardized waste containers utilize image centric, color-coded graphics that clearly display what items (commonly found on campus) should be deposited where with the intent of increasing awareness of the campus community regarding how to properly dispose of items and limit contamination of recycling streams. Standardized containers also utilize shape restricted openings to cue users on accepted materials.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:
In December 2020, UNL initiated its Recycling Pilot Project, aimed at the development of a comprehensive and efficient recycling operation within campus buildings. The pilot project was initially implemented in eight buildings with varying functions (teaching/classroom space, administrative/office space, research labs, public/event spaces, etc.) across UNL’s city and east campuses, and expanded to eleven buildings in March 2022 through new construction and renovation projects. The pilot project included two primary components of container standardization and collection process alignment. Within pilot buildings, standardized waste stations with collection areas for separate waste streams (paper, plastic, aluminum, landfill) and clear, concise labels and signage were placed in high impact, high traffic locations such as hallways/corridors near building entrances, restrooms, and stairways following an “All in the hall” methodology. These containers replaced randomly placed, mismatched containers throughout pilot buildings. Through partnership with UNL Custodial Services staff, materials from all waste streams (both landfill and recycling) began being collected daily by Custodial Services staff in the pilot buildings, which is a change from previous operations where Custodial only serviced landfill waste within buildings. Custodial staff no longer provide once weekly landfill waste collection from individual private offices, and building occupants are empowered to take ownership of their personal waste items by transporting them to the centralized waste stations. Through the pilot project, trends of increasing amounts of materials correctly being recycled and decreasing amount of materials sent to the landfill were observed through decreased contamination within waste streams. Based on the success of the Recycling Pilot Project, the All in the Hall recycling program was approved for phased campus-wide implementation by UNL's Chancellor and Executive Leadership Team in May of 2022. It is expected that empowering the UNL community to monitor and sort their waste items through broad implementation of the All in the Hall program will lead to more mindful consumption and disposal behaviors, reducing contamination and improving recycling rates over time.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:
As alluded to above, multiple waste audits have been conducted related to data gathering for the Recycling Pilot Project. Individual waste audits of each pilot building were conducted in November 2020, prior to the start of the project to collect baseline data. Additional audits of each pilot building were conducted in March and November 2021 to collect additional data. Additional waste audits of other campus buildings will be conducted in the future to support continued phased implementation of the All in the Hall program. The Office of Sustainability has spearheaded the waste audits with support from Custodial Services (saving waste materials from a certain period of time). The audits have served as an experiential learning opportunity for students, as undergraduates from Environmental Studies 101 and Natural Resources 115 classes have participated in sorting waste during the audits on numerous occasions (ENVR- past five semesters, NRES- past two semesters).

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:
UNL Procurement Services pursues the promotion, development and procurement of environmentally preferred goods and services whenever possible. Procurement Services will work with departments, employees, contractors and vendors alike to seek out and provide resources and information that will enable customers to make informed purchasing decisions, while promoting environmental stewardship.

UNL Procurement Services is committed to buying more environmentally preferable goods and services as long as they meet performance needs and are available within a reasonable period of time at a reasonable cost. By including environmental considerations in procurement decisions, along with traditional concerns with price, performance and availability, Procurement Services remains fiscally responsible while promoting products and services that have a reduced effect on human health and the environment.

UNL’s “Green Purchasing” strategy is to develop policies consistent with the following:

1. Minimize the consumption of natural resources by reviewing current and proposed future usage and evaluating the pros and cons of alternatives.

2. Seek alternatives to products and processes that are detrimental to the environment by using more “environmentally friendly” products and processes.

3. Minimize waste, including any packaging, waste produced by the product (or service) in questions, and waste generated by the eventual disposal of the product.

4. Maximize the reuse and recycling of materials.

5. Stimulate demand for “environmentally friendly” products by letting manufacturers and suppliers know the environmental performance sought in products.

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:
UNL's Inventory, Surplus, and Asset Management department manages surplus property through its Surplus Property Disposal program. Through this program, departments may return excess property to the Inventory, Surplus, and Asset Management Department free of charge through collaboration with campus Moving Services. Returned property then becomes available to University Departments at the weekly Open Houses provided by the Inventory, Surplus, and Asset Management department where University personnel have the opportunity to browse available items and purchase as a discounted rate to encourage reuse of items. Property not selected for use by University departments/personnel is then offered for sale to the general public at public auctions held throughout the year. More information about UNL Inventory can be found at: https://inventory.unl.edu/

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:
In Spring 2020, registered student organization Sustain UNL began hosting a clothing swap to provide opportunity to the UNL community to exchange and reuse apparel items. Swaps have been hosted by Sustain during Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Fall 2022 and the group has plans to continue organizing the swap each semester moving forward. During the swaps, items are collected from the campus community for one week and when someone donates an item, they fill out a form to record how many items they donate. Sustain members sort and organize the collected items and make them available to the campus community to obtain. Individuals who donated items are able to take the same number of items they donated (recorded via form), anything above and beyond that is sold for a small fee (usually $0.25-$1.00). Anyone from the campus community is welcome to donate or purchase items. In Spring of 2021, 800 pieces of total clothing were donated by the campus community for the swap and 300 pieces were left over after the swap to be donated. In Fall of 2021,1,200 pieces of clothing were donated by the campus community for the swap and approximately 400 pieces were left over after the swap to be donated. Data is not yet available for the Fall 2022 swap. The leftover items from the swap were donated to local community organizations such as the Lavender Closet and Good Neighborhood Community Center.

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:
UNL encourages all copiers to be set to make double-sided copies as the default if they have the capability to do so. UNL’s Print IT program utilizes WEPA printers and functions as a pay-per-print kiosk, allowing users to print from anywhere, securely, to any one of the Print IT kiosks on campus. The Print IT program provides monetary incentives for duplex printing ($0.15 duplex vs $0.09 single B/W, $0.60 duplex vs $0.40 single color), further encouraging this waste-minimizing practice on campus.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials available online by default rather than printing them:
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A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:
During the move-in and move-out periods, UNL Housing provides residence halls with additional roll-off containers for cardboard to encourage recycling of these materials. They also encourage donation of goods through partnership with various local organizations to provide containers for students to deposit still usable items they no longer need or want.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:
As noted above, UNL’s Inventory, Surplus, and Asset Management department coordinates surplus property management at UNL. Through this program, materials that are no longer needed by a specific department and would otherwise be disposed of with landfill materials are recovered and reused on campus. The surplus property program handles materials including furniture and other miscellaneous office use items as well as electronics. All electronic items are first offered for redistribution through the surplus property program. Those items that are not redistributed are then offered at public auction. Items that are not sold at public auction are sent for refurbishment via Apple's Recycling program.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
https://inventory.unl.edu/policies/scrap-or-salvage/

https://its.unl.edu/services/wepa/

https://procurement.unl.edu/policies#sustainable-purchasing

This credit utilizes an average performance period of January 2019 - December 2021. Information in PRE 5 is based on 2021 data.

https://inventory.unl.edu/policies/scrap-or-salvage/

https://its.unl.edu/services/wepa/

https://procurement.unl.edu/policies#sustainable-purchasing

This credit utilizes an average performance period of January 2019 - December 2021. Information in PRE 5 is based on 2021 data.

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.