Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Amy Brunvand
Submission Date Oct. 21, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Utah
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.02 / 8.00 Ayrel Clark-Proffitt
Campus Engagement Manager
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 836.09 Tons 658 Tons
Materials composted 629.75 Tons 366 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 2.02 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 3,293.13 Tons 1,428 Tons
Total waste generated 4,760.99 Tons 2,452 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, 2010 Dec. 31, 2010

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

The 2010 baseline year was selected to maintain a consistent emission-inventory history between the performance year and the year we had previously submitted a STARS report.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 3,914 3,558
Number of employees resident on-site 167 156
Number of other individuals resident on-site 2,308 2,222
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 30,038 29,456
Full-time equivalent of employees 17,806 15,319
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 527 355
Weighted campus users 38,816 36,465.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.12 Tons 0.07 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) No
Electronics No
Laboratory equipment No
Furniture No
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets No
Tires No
Other (please specify below) Yes

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

Other: Books are included in recycling number.

The above totals from 2019 include data from main campus, student residence halls, and university student apartments. It does not include the University of Utah Health campus, which is working to improve its waste and recycling data collection. It also does not include Research Park (see next paragraph for explanation). Compost figures include yard waste sent to compost at SLCO Landfill and food waste diverted by University Dining to an anaerobic biodigester. Donations are combined clothing, bedding, small furniture and kitchen appliances, as well as food donated to campus pantry, from the end-of-year residence hall move out drive.

Research Park data is not included in totals. Research Park is a group of buildings that house campus and non-campus research organizations. Research Park currently has 48 companies along with 81 University departments with a workforce of more than 14,000. However, only seven buildings are directly managed by the university, and those buildings house both university and non-university employees. The diversion rate of those seven buildings is 13 percent.

Additionally, electronics, lab equipment, furniture, and large appliances are not included, despite a robust campus program to resell these items. U Surplus & Salvage tracks sales, but not weights, so they could not be adequately included. Additionally, e-waste and hazardous waste are not included in the diversion rate because of the complicated nature of their disposal. In addition to Surplus & Salvage, the University of Utah hosts a community collection event annually that takes e-waste, paper for shredding, and food donations. Combined, the event collected 21 tons of materials in 2019, but we did not include the collection event in the above numbers.

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:

Different bin systems are used in different parts of campus. Most academic buildings have multi-stream recycling, which significantly cuts down on contamination. Residences and outward facing spaces, such as sports venues and museums, have single-stream recycling.

The University is working to make the overall recycling system more consistent so users experience the same type, number, order, shape, and labeling of containers throughout the campus, and in 2019 brought in a 3rd party contractor to evaluate the systems and areas for improvement.

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

Recycling is largely handled by the university's Facilities department, and the Sustainability Office supports them through active education campaigns, including:

1) Green Office Certification: The Green Office Certification helps offices become more sustainable through an easy-to-use checklist. During the process, the Sustainability Office makes presentations to office staff, and one of the primary focuses of these presentations is to talk about what is and is not recyclable on campus. Learn more at https://sustainability.utah.edu/engagement/programs/green-office.

2) UBYO: Zero waste is the focus of the U Bring Your Own campaign (UBYO). The campaign—a partnership between Sustainability, student government, campus bookstore, and Pepsi—aims to make zero waste more accessible by focusing on five key items to bring to campus. Those items are: grocery bag, to-go container, utensil kit, water bottle, and hot beverage cup. Utensil kits funded by Pepsi, #UBYO stickers, and lamppost banners featuring the five items remind the campus community that waste reduction matters. Learn more at https://sustainability.utah.edu/ubyo.

3) Green sports: The University of Utah is part of Pac-12 Team Green. During fall football games, the student government and Sustainability Office work to collect recyclable materials in tailgate areas from fans. Additionally, each fall and spring semester, the university participates in the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge. In fall 2019, the university did its first-ever food waste collection at a football game as part of a BECAUSE PLANET branded campaign.

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

A student-led waste audit was completed in 2019 of four high traffic buildings: the union, the main campus library, a residence hall, and the residence hall meeting and dining building. The audit was performed by Momentum Recycling, a local glass recycler and recycling hauler. All streams had some level of contamination, but the biggest opportunity was around food waste collection. A larger-scale report by consultant RRS found the same thing: the collection of food waste would significantly reduce total weight sent to landfill. RRS did not complete a waste audit, but did survey bins on campus.

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

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

Since 1972, the University of Utah Surplus & Salvage department has recovered unwanted items from campus departments and resold those materials to other campus offices or the public. Unusable items, including electronics, are recycled through the Utah State contracts. The Surplus & Salvage store located on campus is a multi-level showroom that includes computers, screens, lab equipment, desks, cabinets, and more. There is also an auction website for higher value items, such as vehicles. Learn more at https://fbs.admin.utah.edu/surplus.

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

In fall 2019, students in a Sustainable Design course created the Style Swap to highlight the negative effects of fast fashion and promote clothing reuse. In addition to the six-hour swap, the team created beautiful graphics for an Instagram campaign (see https://www.instagram.com/uofu_styleswap).

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

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

The U of U offers online registration via Campus Information Systems. Course Catalogs and schedules are available online at: http://www.utah.edu/students/catalog.php.

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

Each year, the University of Utah Sustainability Office partners with Housing & Residential Education for What Goes Around Comes Around, where unwanted items and food from students are donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah and the on-campus food pantry. In 2018, staff and volunteers collected more than 6,000 pounds of clothing, bedding, kitchen items, and small furniture, as well as unopened nonperishable food for donation. In 2019, the total was 4,000 lbs., and we believe this number is an error due to bad reporting by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah.

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

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

The 2010 baseline year was selected to maintain a consistent emission-inventory history between the performance year and the year we had previously submitted a STARS report.
2019 was selected as performance year based on better data collection as the result of a new hauler contract initiated in November 2018.


Baseline data:
2010 Recycling and Solid Waste Annual Report, Office of Sustainability (2011)
URL: https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6fj5f3p

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.