Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.98
Liaison Jay Price
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Tennessee at Knoxville
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.62 / 8.00 Jay Price
Sustainability Manager
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 1,948.62 Tons 984.57 Tons
Materials composted 1,177.24 Tons 96.50 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 43.27 Tons 6.12 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 6,426.79 Tons 11,995.25 Tons
Total waste generated 9,595.92 Tons 13,082.44 Tons

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


Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2017 June 30, 2018
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):

N/A, the end date of the baseline year is after 2004.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 7,326 8,132
Number of employees resident on-site 11 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 609 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 24,535 24,672
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 4,989 7,986
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 140 0
Weighted campus users 24,481.25 26,526.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.39 Tons 0.49 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 Yes
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) Yes

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

UT recycles old carpet by sending it to Southeastern Recycling's Knoxville location. According to their website, Post Consumer Carpet (PCC) can be used for a variety of applications. "The materials from this carpet could become new carpet again, plastic resin for making plastic parts, plastic drainage pipe, new carpet pad, acoustic matting, sorbent material for water pollutants or as an energy substitute for natural gas and coal. Southeastern Recycling actively participates in the Carpet America Recovery Effort, CARE, with the objective of diverting 40% of the Post Consumer carpet from the landfills in the USA by the year 2017." http://serecycling.net/

UT also recycles all types of light bulbs by sending them to Lighting Resources LLC, who accepts fluorescent tubes, plastic coated and shatter shield tubes, compact fluorescent, circular fluorescent, U-Bend/FB40 tubes, biax, flood lamps, incandescent, halogen, neon, argon, and other cold cathodes, HID lamps, and bi-metal, metal halide and high pressure sodium lamps, among other types. Lighting Resources manages "almost all aspects of the lamp recycling process in-house by operating the very best lamp processing equipment, using mercury retort ovens to remove mercury from phosphorus powder, and even triple distillation equipment to recycle mercury back to virgin specification." http://lightingresourcesinc.com/services/lamp-recycling-services

The Office of Sustainability Free Store recovers clothing and unused non-perishable food from student move-out. Depending on the condition, the used clothing is donated back to students through Free Store Pop-Ups or to Goodwill to be recycled into rags.

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) :
3,169.13 Tons

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:

Receptacles located across campus have distinguishing colors and custom shaped lids for paper, glass, cans, and plastic recycling versus trash. The narrow slits in the paper recycling receptacles, as well as the circular openings for cans or plastic, serve as a quality control mechanism to keep trash items out. The black trash receptacles are not labeled "Trash", but rather are labeled "Landfill." Many waste receptacles on campus now also have signs attached that describe what materials can go in which bin. These methods reduce the possibility for confusion while informing people of where their waste is going.

In other efforts to minimize contamination, collection drivers will hand-sort contamination from paper and cardboard recycling. Recycling operations student workers and AmeriCorps members also pick out contamination from campus compost collection sites when they collect and deliver the compost.

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:

The Office of Sustainability has been working to maximize waste diversion for several years. Some of these efforts include: providing recycling bins in all buildings, starting a compost program (including an investment in $230,000 wood grinder), a campus-wide initiative to eliminate single-use containers called The Mug Project, among many other projects. Additionally, the Zero Waste Gameday initiative for the football stadium has greatly increased the overall waste diversion of the campus.

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

The Office of Sustainability is in the process of performing waste audits on almost every building on campus. Since the start of the process in 2018, approximately 40 building audits have been completed to date of around 100 planned buildings.

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

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

The UT Surplus Department collects all surplus materials from around campus and sells them back to other campus departments or at auctions to the public. https://warehousing.utk.edu/

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):

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):

Students must pay for all printing done on campus. The default settings in the labs is to print duplex with black and white text or images on both sides of the paper. Color printing is more expensive than black and white print jobs.

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:

Current and archived course catalogs are readily available online via the online catalog management system. Students who desire a paper copy must visit the admissions office to request one.
The directory is available online at https://directory.utk.edu/.

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

The Office of Sustainability recycling operations team manages residence hall move-in waste and collects recyclables, mostly cardboard, from each residence hall. Staff, AmeriCorps members, and student workers with the Office of Sustainability are present over move-in weekend to direct new students and their parents on where to place their waste to maximize diversion.

The Office of Sustainability's Social Impact Coordinator manages residence hall move-out each year, partnering with Goodwill Knoxville to collect unwanted clothes, household items, cleaning supplies, and food items from residence halls move-out. Food items are donated to Smokey's Pantry, the on-campus food pantry that serves students, faculty, staff, and community members.

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

The Office of Sustainability recovers uneaten food left over in campus c-stores, from large events, and football games and donates it to community organizations that provide meals to those in need.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.