Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.36
Liaison Marianella Franklin
Submission Date Jan. 10, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.07 / 8.00 Marisol Cerda
Space Management Coordinator
Facilities Planning and Construction
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 101 Tons 92.20 Tons
Materials composted 17.50 Tons 2.70 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 49.70 Tons 20 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 7,190.30 Tons 6,780 Tons
Total waste generated 7,358.50 Tons 6,894.90 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 Aug. 20, 2019 Aug. 19, 2020
Baseline Period Aug. 20, 2014 Aug. 19, 2015

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:
The waste generation was adopted in 2010 after the establishment for the office for sustainability, but a new baseline was amended with the creation of the new UTRGV university in 2015.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 830 600
Number of employees resident on-site 10 7
Number of other individuals resident on-site 7 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 23,161 17,959
Full-time equivalent of employees 4,466 3,081
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 8,444 2,851
Weighted campus users 14,604.25 13,793.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.50 Tons 0.50 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 No
Plant materials Yes
Animal bedding No
White goods (i.e. appliances) Yes
Electronics 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:

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

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:
UTRGV sustainability student ambassadors and environmental awareness club conduct waste audits throughout campus to determine the quantity and type of recycling contamination.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:
ITT Recycling Pilot Program - This initiative began in November 2016 in the International Trade and Technology building of UTRGV. In seven months, 400+ pounds of recyclable material was collected in the building through the use of personal recycling bins and a central recycling point in the ITT break room located at the northeast corner of the building. Emails sent to all staff in the building explained, "This is where you take your recyclable material for sorting and which will be picked up by the Facilities Department." They will take the recyclables to the weigh station and record the information (pilot project only at this time). The recyclable trash is then put in the area for pick up by the City of Edinburg. The City will be responsible for picking up the recyclable trash from the
UTRGV Edinburg campus. The City will also be responsible for weighing and measuring the volume of trash and recyclables that UTRGV generates.It will provide a monthly report of metrics to UTRGV Campus Facilities Operations Department.Attached to the emails were files containing information on overall proper recycling habits, as well as what is expected from this program.
The program attracted the attention of individuals from other buildings who have adopted the program voluntarily.

Additionally, the UTRGV Resident Handbook encourages recycling:
"In an effort to be more environmentally responsible the university has placed blue recycle bins around campus. These bins can take paper, plastic, cans, and cardboard. All
students are encouraged to do their part and place items in the appropriate recycle bins. Misused of recycle bins may result in disciplinary actions."

The above programs are aided by the efforts of the Environmental Sciences club and other student organizations, who place bins for paper and plastic in common areas like the Student Union and in main lobbies of academic buildings. The bins are decorated with slogans to encourage their use and signs at eye level indicate that the bins on the floor are for recycling only. Later, contents of these bins are added to UTRGV's blue recycling bins.

"The IT Green Initiative" signage and website inform students about the waste that can be generated through printing, and the Organization Impact on the Environment. UTRGV students are informed about Trees Consumed, Carbon Dioxided Produced (Co2), and Total sheets of paper* used. The website also informs students how to reduce their printing use.

The Office for Sustainability also provides incoming freshmen with a "Sustainable Dorm Life" guide that introduces 24 simple habits students can take to shift to more sustainable practices in their private and academic life, including reducing their use of non-recyclables, re-using items and containers, and recycling as a last resort and not as the default practice.

Sodexo, the dining hall services provider for UTRGV, has established a global program, WasteWatch – powered by LeanPath – which helps to identify causes and define action plans to prevent waste. Sites implementing WasteWatch can reduce food waste by 45% in two to six months. UTRGV's food waste is donated or composted.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:
The IT Green Initiative includes information from a report of printing statistics comparing Academic year 2016-2017 to printing from Academic year 2015-2016. https://www.utrgv.edu/it/resources/go-green/index.htm
UT System Policy 169 Sec. 10 Waste and Recycling Management states that each institution will record and monitor annual waste and recycling quantities, implement procedures to reduce campus waste, and set a goal to increase campus recycling each year.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:
UTRGV is currently working on a green purchasing policy. The office for sustainability provides trainings and support information and resource at purchasing fair and HUB events where we provide faculty, staff, and students about green purchasing and waste diversion strategies and recommendations.

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:
Surplus Property is required by state law. Any item purchased by the University must be sent to Surplus for redistribution to campus, donation, auction. In the warehouse there is a specific section for office supplies. Items are made available for campus reuse first and then sold through a public store or online auction. The Office of Sustainability hosts an annual office supply swap to capture and exchange items.

Central Receiving provides surplus property services to the University community in the most timely and efficient manner possible so as to assure that UTRGV’s assets are being used to their fullest capabilities. Surplus property (This includes furniture and technology) is picked up from offices or departments where it is no longer needed and stored in university warehouses until it is needed elsewhere in the university.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:
The UTRGV Library hosts a book exchange during National Library Week. Students are encouraged to bring books to donate and take books that were donated by other students, free of charge.

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:
Students do not have unlimited printing. On the first day of class students will receive 250 credits and another 250 credits will be issued after the census date (13th class day). At this time, students will not be able to request additional credits. Cost of printing is:
B&W Single-sided 1 Credit
B&W Double-sided 0.5 Credit
Color Single-sided 2 Credits
Color Double-sided 3 Credits
IT guides to reduce printing are available on their website and printed and displayed next to printers: https://www.utrgv.edu/it/software/vprint/index.htm

"How can I reduce my printing use?"
Proofread what you are about to print so you will not need to reprint due to typos.
Always print preview your work before submitting it to print.
Only print pages needed. You can specify which pages to print in the page-range area of the print window.
Use single or 1½ spacing instead of double spacing, and reduce the page margins.
Avoid printing email messages & web pages directly from the internet. Copy and paste the text you need into a Word document.
Send and save documents electronically instead of printing out hard copies.
If you are printing a PowerPoint presentation print it in outline view.
Use campus copiers to make multiple copies of a document.
Duplexing is possible on many campus printers and photocopiers. It only takes a few extra seconds to get two to four pages printed on one piece of paper

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials available online by default rather than printing them:
Annual course catalogs are not printed and are available online only via the university website: https://www.utrgv.edu/en-us/academics/catalogs/index.htm

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:
As described in the UTRGV Resident Handbook, "Abandoned Property" defined as
personal effects and other property of value that has been abandoned and not claimed within 30 days, may be retained by the department as its property or may be disposed of through sales, donations, or in such a manner as the department in its sole discretion may determine. This encourages students to remove all of their own property when moving out.
Additionally, student sustainability dorm guides encourage students to donate unwanted items when moving out and to seek out second-hand furniture when moving in.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:
Obsolete assets are disposed based on the Texas Comptroller’s State Property Accounting guidelines.
Below are the circumstances by which as asset can be disposed:
 Auctioned (Sale of property)
 Donated (to charitable organizations)
 Sent to Texas Department of Criminal Justice (disposal of data processing equipment)
 Stolen (a Missing/Stolen Property Form and police report will be required)
 Missing for two consecutive years (a Missing/Stolen Property Form and police report will be required)
All required support documentation will be kept and filed in the Assets Management department.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about 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.