Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.09
Liaison Jennifer Andrews
Submission Date Aug. 16, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of New Hampshire
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.15 / 8.00 Jennifer Andrews
Project Director
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 594.07 Tons 739.66 Tons
Materials composted 739.66 Tons 204.91 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 74.86 Tons 32.69 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,529.48 Tons 1,540.27 Tons
Total waste generated 2,938.07 Tons 2,517.53 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, 2018 June 30, 2019
Baseline Period July 1, 2014 June 30, 2015

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

FY15 is the first year for which we have comprehensive waste and recycling data for all of the categories which we currently track (i.e. landfill, single-stream recycling, shredded paper, cardboard, scrap metal, waste grease, and recycled electronics.) It is also a year prior to the establishment of the Zero Waste Task Force, so it provides a useful basis for comparison and evaluation of the efficacy of the Task Force's efforts.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 6,773 7,466
Number of employees resident on-site 27 23
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 15,642 15,325
Full-time equivalent of employees 2,954 2,841
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 545 234
Weighted campus users 15,238.25 15,321.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.19 Tons 0.16 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 No
Animal bedding No
White goods (i.e. appliances) No
Electronics Yes
Laboratory equipment Yes
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets No
Tires No
Other (please specify below) No

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


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

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:

UNH has implemented many contamination reduction efforts, including significant investments in additional signage encouraging community members to eliminate plastic bags and other non-recyclable plastics, and food contaminants. Departments across campus, especially Residential Life and Housing and the Sustainability Institute, have undertaken extensive out reach campaigns, and trained and hired zero waste ambassadors to teach and even monitor for proper recycling and populated spaces across campus (e.g. the student union, popular dining retail locations) and during university wide events like homecoming.

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

Concerted outreach and education campaign in campus housing were conducted by Residential Life every year between 2016 and 2020, and focused on increased on reducing the amount of waste generated and increasing diversion, resulted in a reduction of 10% in the amount of waste per student being sent to the landfill from campus dorms in fall 2019, compared to the previous year. (Comparative data for spring 2020, and AY20-21, was not available because of campus disruptions due to COVID.)
In the dining halls, the "Task Less, Waste Less" campaign reminds patrons to be mindful of taking only what they intend to eat. This involves signage spread throughout all three dining halls, as well as periodic public "plate scrape" exercises at waste disposal sites in the dining halls.

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

Efforts to audit and assess wast have been ongoing. UNH was one of the pilot participants in the ATLAS assessment created by the Post Landfill Action Network. That data was used by students to develop a proposed framework for a zero-waste plan. Every semester interns from the sustainability institute compile comprehensive data about UNH waste streams. In addition, multiple class projects and independent studies supported have focused on assessing building specific recycling and composting behaviors, including rates of contamination.

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

We are one of a handful of campuses to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (a global, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management worldwide) for our efforts to use sustainably produced paper products, recycled paper, and non-toxic chemicals (toners, etc). See https://www.unh.edu/printing/sustainability

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

The University System of New Hampshire Purchasing Office facilitates the Surplus Property program. Through the Surplus Property website, individuals can browse and/or upload to an online inventory of surplus items (furniture, miscellaneous, audio/visual equipment, computers, research equipment, vehicles) available for sale to university departments and the general public. Surplus may also be transferred to another department, donated to a non-profit organization, create an advertisement for the sale of surplus, or request to scrap obsolete equipment.

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

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

The majority of Student Computer Clusters (SCCs) require Cats Cache to enable printing. Cats Cache is like a debit card onto which students (and parents) can deposit money. Standard printing rates are 10 cents per page. There are computer labs on campus where free printing is available. Such locations are monitored by a computer lab technician, and students are instructed to limit their use of free printing to five pages.

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

In the spirit of sustainability and in accordance with President Mark Huddleston’s call to restrict printing and mailing costs, the UNH Campus Directory is now only available online. The online UNH directory for faculty/staff is currently available from the UNH homepage, and the online directories for students and faculty/staff are currently available at: http://www.unh.edu/directories/facstaff.html

Moreover, the undergraduate course catalog completed its transition to online-only delivery with the 2010-2011 edition. The Graduate School's course catalog has been online-only since the 2009-2010 edition. Through MyCourses, students can also view syllabi and course schedules uploaded by instructors, as well as submit papers and exams electronically and register for courses, among other things:


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

T2T is a student-run leadership program that collects massive amounts of furniture and dorm items from students at the end of each school year and recycles or resells them at discounted prices at a huge campus yard sale the following fall. Since its inception, T2T has saved students over half a million dollars in back-to-school expenses and diverted nearly 200 tons of waste from entering landfills. https://www.unh.edu/sustainability/student-education-engagement/trash-2-treasure

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

UNH donates tons of used mattresses and other furniture to charitable organizations like IRN Surplus – The Reuse Network each year. It also has surplus policies that require that used items that are still good (i.e. furniture, vehicles, electronics, etc) need to be offered to community members before they are otherwise disposed of.

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:

Note that FY19 is utilized as our performance year, above, as we were able to get the most complete activity data for that year. This means that our FTE, and total Weighted Campus Users, data above necessarily differs from what was reported in PRE-5 (since that reflects FY21).

Note that FY19 is utilized as our performance year, above, as we were able to get the most complete activity data for that year. This means that our FTE, and total Weighted Campus Users, data above necessarily differs from what was reported in PRE-5 (since that reflects FY21).

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.