Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.12
Liaison Amir Nadav
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of St. Thomas
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.78 / 8.00 Shane Philhower
Facilities Services Supervisor—Recovery & Waste
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 531.64 Tons 497.85 Tons
Materials composted 67.55 Tons 39.70 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 62.74 Tons 21.77 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 464.16 Tons 501.09 Tons
Total waste generated 1,126.09 Tons 1,060.41 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 Jan. 1, 2019 Dec. 31, 2019
Baseline Period Jan. 1, 2017 Dec. 31, 2017

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

The University implemented a new collection and reporting system in the fall of 2015. Calendar year 2017 is the earliest year with the data that is the most complete and consistent with current tracking methods.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2,378 2,612
Number of employees resident on-site 28 33
Number of other individuals resident on-site 11 16
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 8,649 8,546
Full-time equivalent of employees 1,556 1,535
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 97.80 79.20
Weighted campus users 8,192.90 8,178.60

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.14 Tons 0.13 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 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:

Various materials such as banners, books, buckets, dishes, kitchen/cafeteria equipment, select electronics, shelf-stable food, used cooking oil, office supplies, office furniture, household goods, ink/toner cartridges, cleaning equipment, construction salvage, pallets, waste receptacles

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:

Initial inspections of recycling and trash bins for contaminants are conducted by the University's waste and recovery team before tipping. Inappropriate items such as electronics, when found are pulled out. Bins that are visibly contaminated in excess of 15% are dumped in our municipal solid waste system. During move out, we utilize student employees to sort through recycling and trash bins for contamination and salvageable items.

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

Signage has become more standardized, which includes a picture and list guide for recycling and composting on all receptacles in public areas of our campuses. Sustainability club members and Facilities Management staff have presented information to various student groups and at orientations for change implementation opportunities. Recycling and composting information is built into first-year student orientation. In the spring of 2020, the University also held an employee professional development training session on recycling and composting through our Leadership Academy.

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 from select locations are conducted annually, or more often as needed, in order to identify missed capture of recyclables as well as data to support potential recycling initiatives or educational opportunities.

There have not been contamination audits of all recycling collection sites on campus. However, from the end of January 2020 through the beginning of March 2020, University staff audited the single stream recycling from eight locations that were either academic or administrative.

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

The University has a Sustainable Purchasing Policy and a Green Cleaning Program to support purchases that minimize waste.

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

An organized swap of office supplies is available to all students, faculty, and staff each year in order to reduce waste and excessive purchasing. Useable office furniture is stored and reused for new office setups when possible. Certain items are collected even if they do not work and are used by the Engineering Department faculty for educational purposes.

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

The libraries host a used book sale each year for books deaccessioned from our collection, as well as books from community members. Many books not sold are donated to locally connected organizations. Select items collected on campus are offered to new international students before being donated outside of the University.

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

St. Thomas uses the PaperCut print tracking system, which emphasizes cost reduction and sustainability. In order to reduce paper usage, grayscale duplex printing (back-to-back) is the default on all campus print devices. Every faculty and staff member at St. Thomas who prints or makes a copy incurs a printing charge for their department. All students automatically receive a $32 Print Quota each semester for printing and copying on campus, the equivalent of about 400 grayscale prints. Students who exceed the print quota allotment are charged a per-page fee at the current printing rates.
After implementing the print management system, printing dropped by approximately 2 million pages over the first two years, equating to an annual savings of about $60,000.

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

The University stopped printing paper versions of the undergraduate class schedule at least 15 years ago and course catalogs during the 2016-2017 academic year. These materials are now available online.

The University has transitioned to on-line submission of invoices and receipts on approximately 90,000 transactions, with multiple pages per transaction, saving well over 100,000 pages of printed paper.

In January of 2020, the Libraries rolled out a digitization request service, which allows patrons to request a scanned PDF of a chapter or article from physical books, magazines, and journal issues from the University's library collections. This service allows patrons to benefit from library resources while reducing paper copying and trips to campus. Requests are placed by patrons in the library catalog and are fulfilled in just a few business days, delivered straight to the requestor’s email inbox. There were 65 requests during the first half of spring semester. After buildings closed on March 20th due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of requests quadrupled to 274 during the second half of the semester.

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

Several collection receptacles are located throughout campus at the end of each semester and communications are delivered in various ways about materials accepted and locations of collection areas.

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

On an annual basis there is a collaboration between the Staff/Faculty council and Facilities Management to organize and host an office supply swap open to anyone on campus. Supplies are gathered throughout the year by the Recycling team. With this collected material and for the duration of the office swap event, items can be dropped off or taken by staff/faculty/students. The event occurs on both campuses and lasts two days. The University's Facilities Management Recycling team also supports student-driven waste reduction initiatives. One example is the plastic bag/film recycling collection drives.

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

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.