Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.24
Liaison Rob Andrejewski
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Richmond
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.70 / 8.00 Rob Andrejewski
Director of Sustainability
Office for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 249.83 Tons 534 Tons
Materials composted 177.62 Tons 164 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 52.73 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 741.15 Tons 1,451 Tons
Total waste generated 1,221.33 Tons 2,149 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:

N/A


Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2019 June 30, 2020
Baseline Period July 1, 2014 June 30, 2015

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

2014-15 was the comparison year for our Rethink Waste initiative when we established our 75% waste reduction target.

2019-2020 is the most recent year we have data, but it is also a COVID year in which we stopped operations in March, so numbers are much smaller.


Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2,721 2,700
Number of employees resident on-site 9 9
Number of other individuals resident on-site 3 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 3,636.67 3,732
Full-time equivalent of employees 1,639.33 1,460
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 4,642.50 4,571.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.26 Tons 0.47 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:
44.04

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:
39.32

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):
39.32

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 No
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:

University-owned electronic waste is collected by Information Services and recycled by an R2 certified partner. Annually, the University sponsors an e-waste event for students, staff, and faculty where we capture multiple tons of goods.

Soft plastics are captured and recycled in partnership with a local grocery store.


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

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

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?:
No

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:
8

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:

During the Rethink Waste planning campaign, we audited ten locations to determine compliance with the recycling program, areas of need, and contamination rates. We create new bin, bag, and signage standards. Twice yearly we continue to audit waste in various location types, as well as at athletic events. Recent audits reveal an improved contamination rate, though one still in need of attention.


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

University of Richmond set an ambitious goal of 75% waste diversion by 2025. This means that by 2025, we are striving to have 75% of our waste recycled, composted, or donated for reuse instead of going to the landfill. In order to achieve this goal, we solicit the help and participation of all faculty, staff, and students on campus.

When we roll out a new waste stream or update bins and/or signs in a building, we include an educational campaign to help people find the right receptacle to be recycled or composted, so those materials can be responsibly reused. We use a sorting game and pledges to invite participation. A peer education group, the Rethink Waste Reps, supports this initiative, especially around composting.

Annually, the University participates in Campus Race to Zero Waste, which includes outreach, a clothing swap, film screening, and other tabling events.


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

The Rethink Waste team, Office for Sustainability, Custodial staff, and various students work together to conduct waste audits in the fall and spring. Additionally, Rethink Waste staff have made fullness logs (estimating the fullness of each rolloff/dumpster) a daily practice.

Professors in both Geography and the Environment and Environmental Studies integrate the waste audits into their coursework. The audit outcomes inform student projects and presentations.

COVID has made waste audits much less frequent.


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

The University recommends buying Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) - products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. EPPs take into consideration: Performance, durability, the ability to be repaired, natural resource use and waste reduction, recyclability and recycled content, biodegradrable materials, and toxicity.

The green procurement guidelines state a goal to follow the Cradle to Cradle concept of buying products that are sustainably produced and can be easily recycled, reused and re-purposed. The University prioritizes products that use environmentally safe and healthy materials, use design for material reutilization, such as recycling or composting, promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, have efficient use of water, and include strategies for social responsibility.


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

The University of Richmond Office Supply Exchange (UROSE) recently relaunched as Spider Exchange. Previously managed by the Office for Sustainability, Spider Exchange is run by Rethink Waste Reps and is open to faculty, staff, and students. The program has expanded to include items like water bottles, clothes, books, some small electronics, and various office supplies. Spider Exchange now lives in the Rethink Waste house at New Fraternity Row 24D, located near the Robins Center.

Campus community members can donate to or shop the Spider Exchange every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. You do not have to donate to take items

Surplus furniture is managed through Events, Conferences, & Support Services. Gently used office and meeting room furniture is available for use in offices on campus.


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

Each semester the Rethink Waste Reps and Office for Sustainability team up to offer a clothing swap. Items are collected in residence halls and apartments for a week. The Reps gather the clothes (and other items that make it into the bins) and set up a free store in Tyler Haynes Commons that all are welcome to shop.

Peer-to-peer reuse also occurs through group texting (primarily GroupMe) and social media platforms that students can opt into. Students post about surplus food, books, and other items that are available. Some residence halls also set up donation dropoff locations.


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

Students are given a limited amount of print credits each semester. Full time undergraduates are limited to 400 pages a semester, part time undergraduates are limited to 200 pages, and law school students are limited to 350 pages per semester. All limits on printing apply to public printers on campus such as computer labs, classrooms, and libraries. Once students use their print credits they have the option to purchase additional print credits for a small fee.


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

All course catalogs, course schedules, and directories are made available online. Hard copies of the course catalogs are not available. Hard copies of the University directory are available for a fee. A committee on greening commencement has taken the lead on examining print v. online communications, reducing program booklets (based on previous year leftovers), and condensing print-based outreach to one mailing.

Information Services has digitized many services that were formerly paper based. The online purchasing card reconciliation system has eliminated thousands of sheets of paper monthly.


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

The Big Yard Sale is a materials management event designed to capture discarded items during student move-out for reuse via an end-of-year community sale. Each year during spring move out, the Office for Sustainability and the Falls of the James Group of the Sierra Club, in collaboration with University facilities staff and student groups, collect reusable goods that have been discarded and/or donated for the sale. The collection effort begins a few weeks prior to graduation as students begin to move out of the residence halls.

In an attempt manage material collection, a 40-foot trailer is located on campus for item storage. Two weeks before the final exam period, bins are placed in laundry rooms across campus for students to deposit yard sale donations. Volunteers from the campus groups place signage near the bins and get the word out about the sale. Custodial staff transport materials from the collection areas to the Goodwill trailer on campus. Throughout the collection period, Big Yard Sale volunteers also gather abandoned items from the dumpster areas.

The University of Richmond provides Robins Stadium as a host site for the Big Yard Sale. The Falls of the James Group manage all volunteers and oversee the sale. Donated and and scavenged goods are brought into the gym, sorted and cleaned, organized by categories on tables, and priced inexpensively. On Friday evening, generally one week after graduation, University staff, faculty, and students take advantage of the "Preview Sale." Community residents come to the sale on Saturday morning. All unsold goods are donated to Goodwill, which in kind provides the 40-foot trailer and clothing racks for use during the sale.

As a result of the sale, the University of Richmond promotes a culture of waste reduction and material reuse, saves on disposal costs, and fundraises for the community. Hundreds of people come to campus to purchase clothes, electronics, appliances, tools, and more at very affordable rates.

We had to pause the Big Yard Sale because it is a gathering that exceeds our COVID limits, but we hope to bring it back in 2022.


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

A strong partnership with Goodwill of Central Virginia has resulted in tons of material being diverted from the landfill. Books from the Law Library, personal electronic devices, and surplus clothing have been captured and donated through this partnership. We work with community partners on furniture donations. Local schools received dozens of waste bins when we standardized out system.


Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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David Donaldson is the Rethink Waste Manager.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.