Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.00
Liaison Micah Kenfield
Submission Date March 15, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Vassar College
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.63 / 8.00 Cynthia Van Tassell
Manager for Custodial Services
Buidings and Grounds 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 202.67 Tons 337 Tons
Materials composted 135.83 Tons 14 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 5 Tons 5 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1406.19 Tons 1438 Tons
Total waste generated 1749.69 Tons 1794 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:
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Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2016 June 30, 2017
Baseline Year July 1, 2004 June 30, 2005

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):

The waste generation baseline incorporates data from July 1, 2004 to July 30, 2005 and was adopted to standardize data reporting across the campus.


Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2409 2411
Number of employees resident on-site 200 200
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 2409 2434
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 999.10 1047
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 3208.33 3263.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.55 Tons 0.55 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:
0.79

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:
19.63

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):
19.63

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 No
Tires No
Other (please specify below) No

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

Reusable batteries


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) :
4 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?:
Yes

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?:
Yes

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?:
No

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program (percentage, 0-100):
5

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

The Sustainability Office regularly conducts food waste audits in the two main dining locations on campus, The Retreat and ACDC. Multiple bags from Recycling, Composting, and Trash bins were collected in The Retreat and then sorted and weighed to assess both volume and contamination rates.

The Sustainability Office is now working with student groups and courses to develop strategies for improving recycling diversion rates and outdoor garbage bin placement.


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

Vassar Sustainability publicly advocates and helps organizations hosting events to run them as zero-waste. Recent zero-waste events have included campus dinners and all-campus concerts and celebrations.

The Retreat, purchases compostable plates and utensils so that a customer's entire meal can be composted.


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

We also offer various recycling drop boxes around campus for recycling rechargeable batteries found in various electronic devices. We recycle 100-200 pounds a year through a local company out of Pennsylvania called Call2Recycle that recycles the batteries through RBRC (Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation).

The Purchasing and Computing department hosts a surplus sale each October that sells surplus office furniture, supplies, and retired computers back to the campus community. The proceeds of the sale cover storage of the surplus items and provide funding for the Sustainability Committee's programming.


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):

The Vassar Greens opened the Free Store in March 2011. The Free Store is located in the Student Center and serves as a materials exchange location for students, faculty, and staff throughout the year. It accepts donations of clothing, books, office supplies and smaller furniture.


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):

Vassar College supplies students with a limited allowance ($20) for printing (V-print points). It also lowers the cost of printing double-sided in comparison to single-sided printing and makes double-sided printing the default setting for campus printers. Many classes post assigned readings and materials to a Moodle page which has built in accessibility settings and allows for easy online reading.


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:

It is the policy of the Office of Admissions to not send out paper material (catalogs, directories etc.) for incoming and current students. Online versions of most college documents, including all student life documents, are available online. The college catalog is only available on-line. Many classroom required readings are also offered online on the Moodle site that is easily accessible to students and professors.


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

SWAPR (Stopping Waste and Promoting Reuse) manages the reuse of discarded materials left by students during move-out. The program has been around since 2002 and routinely fills 3-4 semi-trailers with materials, and donates the rest to 16+ local charities. Student volunteers collect bedding, clothing, furniture, textbooks, and household items. The proceeds from the sellback event in the fall covers the cost of collection and storage.


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

Zero-waste events are promoted and clubs and organizations are supported in running sustainable events by providing access to compostable and recyclable products and proper disposal locations.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.