Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 55.88
Liaison Jim Walker
Submission Date April 30, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Texas at Austin
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.66 / 5.00 Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez
Zero Waste Coordinator
Support Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 1,882.70 Tons 1,851.10 Tons
Materials composted 1,322.50 Tons 677.30 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 2.52 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 5,183.80 Tons 5,300.34 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 7,327 7,217
Number of residential employees 16 16
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 46,485 44,953
Full-time equivalent of employees 12,849 12,168
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 0 0

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2013 Dec. 31, 2013
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2009 Dec. 31, 2009

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

We adopted 2009 as our baseline year because this was the year most of our waste reduction initiatives started to take place across campus. 2009 has also been adopted as a baseline year for energy and water conservation programs.

A brief description of any (non-food) waste audits employed by the institution:

A brief description of any institutional procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

A brief description of any surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

Surplus collects things that are no longer in use, such as furniture and computers, and find them a new home or dispose of them. We offer the following surplus property services:
• Collection and storage of surplus furniture (desks, chairs, tables, etc.) and equipment (computers, laboratory equipment, etc.)
• Delivery of surplus to departments upon request
• Supply of chairs, tables, desk-top podiums and portable chalkboards for classroom use. Surplus even takes care of broken property.
Office Supply Swap provides the space and the logistics once a year to receive all leftover office supplies from all departments. This program allows all staff to also collect office supplies needed for work at no-cost and accepts voluntary monetary donations for office supplies that anyone wants to buy for personal use, students included. All fund collected are allocated to the UT Campus Environmental Center (CEC).

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

Printed class schedules are no longer generally available. The Office of the Registrar is committed to limiting paper-based practices and replacing them with electronic documents and processes wherever possible. This practice started about five years ago.

A brief description of any limits on paper and ink consumption employed by the institution:

All lab and library printing has a cost per page, which students can apply to their "BevoBucks" balance on their private student account. Students must have a positive balance on their account in order to print in labs or libraries.

A brief description of any programs employed by the institution to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

Trash to Treasure is one of the flagship programs run by the UT Campus Environmental Center (CEC), which is sponsored by Campus Planning and Facilities Management. Each year, CEC works with the University Residence Hall Association and the Division of Housing and Food Services (DHFS) to put collection bins in all on campus residence halls during exam week of the Fall and Spring semesters. CEC typically diverts 2-3 tons of clothing and small household items from the landfill in this program. Trash to Treasure has been running for ten years, since 2004.

A brief description of any other (non-food) waste minimization strategies employed by the institution:

For the first time this spring 2014 Prof. Robert Young is offering The Resource Management and Recycling class. The students performed a waste characterization activity included in their program/syllabus where students perform a waste audit (food waste included) from a couple of the buildings as part of their educational experience.

A brief description of any food waste audits employed by the institution:

As above mentioned, The Resource Management and Recycling class has a waste characterization activity included in their program/syllabus where students perform a waste Audit (food waste included) from a couple of the buildings as part of their educational experience).

A brief description of any programs and/or practices to track and reduce pre-consumer food waste in the form of kitchen food waste, prep waste and spoilage:

DHFS operates under the EPA’s Food Waste Hierarchy. We monitor all orders as they pertain to production and then to waste. All edible food that is not served is either repurposed in a different capacity for another meal, donated to a local soup kitchen, or composted. All non-edible food scraps or waste are directly composted. All DHFS food service staff are toughly trained throughout each year to make sure their waste is minimal and their understanding of proper waste management is accurate.

A brief description of programs and/or practices to track and reduce post-consumer food waste:

All trays were removed from both ‘all you care to eat’ dining facilities after a series of plate waste studies over a 1.5 year period. We estimate to be saving 48% of food waste from baseline. Trays are kept on hand for customers that need assistance. We have also implemented a semester(ly) plate waste study that looks at how much food is wasted in these facilities specifically. In addition we have implemented a month long serves in these facilities to gather data on what was wasted, where it came from, and why it wasn’t eaten. Lastly we have implemented a large scale campus wide campaign to educate the UT population on Food Waste and discourage its practice. This campaign approaches Food Waste on a global level, but also on a specific UT Campus level.

A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable and/or third party certified compostable to-go containers for to-go food and beverage items (in conjunction with a composting program):

The ‘Eco2Go’ program began in February 2010 as a way to decrease waste from our retail dining locations. Customers pay a one-time membership fee of $5 to join the program and are able to have their meals served into a reusable container. As well as reducing waste, customers also receive a 5% discount on their meal. We now track these numbers (spreadsheets available). We also source a large amount of compostable to go materials. These materials have recently been redesigned specifically for us with custom printing on the rims to help promote their compostability. We also have 10 separate post-consumer receptacles to help collect the compostable materials across our dining facilities. Theses receptacles all have visual signage that help the consumer differentiate what items can go in what waste stream to help keep contamination rates low.

A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable service ware for “dine in” meals and reusable and/or third party certified compostable service ware for to-go meals (in conjunction with a composting program):

Our “dine in” meals are all served 100% trayless on 100% reusable service wear. All plates, cups, and eating utensils are collected upon a customer’s exit, washed, and reused for the extent of the materials life. All “to-go” information listed in prior question and on attached Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is applicable to this case. I will add, however, that we do not have a “to-go” option for our “all you care to eat” locations. We do provide seating in our cafes where to-go is an option, thus creating a “dine-in” opportunity using “to-go” or single use compostable materials.

A brief description of any discounts offered to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in to-go food service operations:

Customers have the option to buy a plastic hot-drink mug, plastic cold-drink mug, ceramic mug or stainless steel bottle. These can be used in all retail locations operated by DHFS for a discount.
The amount is variable, but as an example, the stainless steel wide mouth bottles offered for soda and tea may be filled for $0.79 instead of $1.29 for the same amount of liquid, and are FREE to fill on Fridays. Also a 5% discount is given for the use of the Eco2Go program.

A brief description of other dining services waste minimization programs and initiatives:
The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization initiatives is available:

In order to compare identical data sets, we had to eliminate University Surplus.

Please notice that a significant part of our diversion rate could not be added as we do not have the tonnages from Surplus. (Where most of our UT system electronic waste goes before donation)

Please notice we added a food serving area (Student Activity Center) that did not existed in 2009 before. This place represented an increment of 280 tons for 2013.

Please notice our calculations of landscaping debris are transformed from our cubic yard collection data into tons based on the information shared by the EPA in their "Waste Generation Calculations" report from 30 US communities as .3 tons per cubic yard. You can find a copy of this report at http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/downloads/recy-com/appdx_c.pdf

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.