Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 49.76
Liaison Aurora Sharrard
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Pittsburgh
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.28 / 8.00 Will Mitchell
Senior Manager of Custodial Services
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 2,215.32 Tons 1,518 Tons
Materials composted 19.50 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 305 Tons 112 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 2,215.32 Tons 1,518 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 4,384 Tons 3,876 Tons
Total waste generated 9,139.14 Tons 7,024 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:

The university partners with the waste hauler as well as the MRF Operations (Greenstar). Greenstar is the leader in recycling sorting. They utilize hand sorters as well as automated sorting equipment.

Greenstar Pennsylvania
Greenstar Recycling is the largest municipal and commercial single stream processor in the Pittsburgh area. The company began in 1991 as a metals only processor, but has diversified since that time to a full service materials recovery facility (MRF).

Greenstar opened its single stream plant on Neville Island in 2007. Prior to that Greenstar operated as a dual stream processor with facilities located in Carnegie, Donora and Franklin, Pennsylvania. With conversion to single stream, Pittsburgh has seen steady growth in recycling.

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2016 June 30, 2017
Baseline Year July 1, 2007 June 30, 2008

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted (e.g. in sustainability plans and policies or in the context of other reporting obligations):

FY2008 was the first year for which reliable data was available, and has been used by the University as a baseline for reporting progress for other purposes.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 7,745 6,700
Number of employees resident on-site 15 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 26,935 23,689
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 12,224 10,744
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 156 0
Weighted campus users 31,192.25 27,499.75

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.29 Tons 0.26 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
Laboratory equipment Yes
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires Yes
Other (please specify below) No

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

Construction and demolition recycling, corrugated cardboard, electronic equipment and devices, carpet. The University also has a robust surplus property operation that collects used items from University departments and resells or donates the items to University departments, local organizations, and the public. The program handles items including office furniture, lab equipment, musical instruments, computers, and even vehicles, diverting 14,608 items from the landfill in FY17.
The Universities Food Services Vendor (Sodexho) also donated 6 tons of food through program such as Food Recovery 911

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year (e.g. materials that are actively diverted from the landfill or incinerator and refurbished/repurposed) :

Does the institution use single stream recycling (a single container for commingled recyclables) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream (two separate containers for recyclables, e.g. one for paper and another for plastic, glass, and metals) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling (multiple containers that further separate different types of materials) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program (percentage, 0-100):

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed, e.g. efforts to minimize contamination and/or monitor the discard rates of the materials recovery facilities and mills to which materials are diverted:

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives, e.g. initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices such as signage and competitions:

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

As part of a negotiation for the University's waste and recycling contract, a comprehensive waste audit was conducted in September 2014. More than 30 team members consisting of Representatives from the University's current waste and recycling contractor, University staff, and student volunteers visited each campus building to evaluate the current container sizes, pull frequencies, and collection processes, and make recommendations for improvements. Recommended improvements were incorporated into the final contract. On September 1, 2015 the University converted its recycling streams into a single stream recycling program. The conversion includes all campus facilities and cost centers.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste (e.g. by minimizing packaging and purchasing in bulk):

Pitt encourages sustainable purchases that include products and materials that are reusable, refillable, and rechargeable; that are made from recycled or remanufactured materials; that were made using environmentally sound practices; whose transfer or shipping process includes minimal packaging waste and avoids air shipping if possible; and that, if they cannot be reused or recycled, can be disposed of in a manner safe to people and the environment.

The Purchasing Department has also worked with service providers and vendors to reduce waste related to packaging and transportation. For example, cardboard boxes were replaced by reusable paper bags for delivery of office supplies, and nearly all food and beverage packaging on Pitt's campus through Dining Services is biodegradable.

The Facilities Management Division works with the University's Purchasing Department to write specifications and negotiate contracts for waste and recycling contracts with local providers. Qualified providers are asked to present their recommendations for maximizing diversion rates while providing efficient and effective service levels. The University's waste and recycling contract was recently re-negotiated, and extensive analysis was conducted to ensure the best available levels of service.

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

The University's Surplus Property Department provides University Departments with an economical way to purchase good quality used office furniture and equipment, thus reducing the amount of new items purchased while also diverting usable products from going to landfills. The service is a convenient way for the university community to dispose of unwanted items including electronics, furniture, miscellaneous items, and even vehicles. Surplus Property collects used items from University departments, refurbishes them if necessary, and sells them at a much reduced price to other units and even the general public. Credits are then provided back to the sourcing departments. Items that cannot be sold are often donated to local charitable organizations. In FY17, Surplus Property was responsible for the reuse of 14,608 items.
See http://www.pittsurplus.com/

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse (e.g. of electronics, furnishings, books and other goods):

The University utilizes the Surplus Property Department to divert University equipment and materials. The University also has a Thrift Store run by the student body to encourage peer-to-peer reuse:


A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption (e.g. restricting free printing and/or mandating doubled-sided printing in libraries and computer labs):

When Pitt students need to print, they send their documents to one of a growing number of self-service printing stations across campus. These stations - located in residence halls, campus computing labs, the Student Union, and other heavily traveled student areas - have helped to cut down on the quantity of sheets of paper that are printed and then discarded. Before documents are printed, the student must physically go to the station and swipe his or her Pitt ID card. All print jobs from university computers are set to print double-sided as the default. Additionally, students are limited to 900 sheets of paper per semester before a fee is assessed for additional printing.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials (e.g. course catalogs, course schedules, and directories) available online by default rather than printing them:

General course catalogs and more major-specific course catalogs are all available online. Course schedules and scheduling are available in the "Student Center" of each student's online self-service Pitt accounts. These self-service accounts enable incoming students to activate their network account information via an online portal, saving the paper traditionally associated with that process and cutting the University's carbon footprint by reducing the amount of mail that must be transported by truck and airplane.

Pitt's Read Green service allows more than 13,200 faculty and staff members to receive paper-based mailings as a digital link delivered to their e-mail inbox. In addition to reducing paper waste, the program reduces the University's carbon footprint by reducing the need to transport University mail by truck both on the Pittsburgh Campus and among the University's four regional campuses. To date, the program has helped to save more than 10 tons of paper, the equivalent of 170 trees.

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

Clutter for a Cause is an event that takes place during finals week of fall and spring semesters. This event allows students who are moving out the opportunity to donate their unwanted electronics, clothing, and food. In addition, members of Pitt's Green Team are present during move-in to collect cardboard boxes and other materials for recycling.

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

Pitt's "Give a Thread" campaign http://www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/pittserves/give-thread, attempted to break the Guinness World Record for the most clothing collected for donation or recycle in 2015. In addition, a student run "University of Thriftsburgh" store was established in a University building for students to donate and purchase gently used apparel and accessories. Excess items that cannot be sold are donated to Goodwill Industries.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

14,608 items were collected and reused, resold, or donated through Pitt's Surplus Property department in FY17. Items in this program range from furniture and computers to vehicles. See http://www.pittsurplus.com/


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.