Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.02
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Oct. 15, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
OP-17: Waste Reduction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.65 / 5.00 Dennis Cochrane
Director, Office of Sustainability
Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure and Facilities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Weight of materials recycled, 2005 baseline year :
1,326.86 Tons

Weight of materials composted, 2005 baseline year :
0 Tons

Weight of materials disposed as garbage, 2005 baseline year :
5,012.71 Tons

Weight of materials recycled, performance year :
1,631.37 Tons

Weight of materials composted, performance year :
598.92 Tons

Weight of materials disposed as garbage, performance year :
3,613.87 Tons

List the start and end dates of the waste reduction performance year:
CY2013

On-campus residents, 2005:
8,978

Non-residential/commuter full-time students, faculty, and staff members, 2005:
22,862

Non-residential/commuter part-time students, faculty, and staff members, 2005:
1,131

On-campus residents, performance year:
9,034

Non-residential/commuter full-time students, faculty, and staff members, performance year:
26,088

Non-residential/commuter part-time students, faculty, and staff members, performance year:
1,737

Time period for weighted campus user (list the consecutive 12 month period that most closely overlaps with waste reduction performance year):
CY2013

Indication of whether institution has a stated commitment to waste-reduction goals, such as zero waste:
Yes

A brief description of the plan of action to achieve waste reduction goals:

The Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment (VTCAC) states “Virginia Tech will minimize waste and achieve a 50% recycle rate by 2020.” (Presidential Policy Memorandum No. 262 Revision 1, May 9, 2013, point #8: http://www.it.vpas.vt.edu/docs/sust/op18/PPM262rev1.pdf)

Virginia Tech is one of four jurisdictional members of the Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority (MRSWA) located in nearby Christiansburg, Virginia. The other members include Montgomery County, the Town of Blacksburg and the Town of Christiansburg. MRSWA currently uses a dual stream recycling system which means the university collects cardboard, mixed paper, and commingled containers using separate recycling containers. MRSWA is conducting a study to determine if it can adopt a single stream recycling system in the future.

Using the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality formula, the university has achieved final recycling rates of 40.1%, 44.1% and 43.2% for calendar years 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively. Virginia Tech’s Calendar Year 2013 Recycling Rate Report is shown here:
http://www.it.vpas.vt.edu/docs/sust/op17/CalendarYear2013CommonwealthOfVirginiaDEQLocalityRecyclingRate.pdf

Additional measures are being implemented to ensure we reach our 50% goal. For example, during the 2014 spring semester the university exercised a lease that provided the campus with 100 Big Belly Solar Trash Compactors with accompanying Bottles and Cans Recycling Containers. This figure represents the most deployed by any college and university in the Nation.

To view the Virginia Tech news article on the Big Belly Solar Trash Compactors see below:
http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/01/012314-vpa-bigbelly.html

To see the WDBJ7 News Article see below:
http://www.wdbj7.com/video/Virginia-Tech-installs-solar-powered-trash-cans/23948196

Composted food waste has been a primary factor in our increased recycling rates over the past six years. In calendar year 2008 Virginia Tech established a partnership with a local firm Poplar Manor Enterprises, LLC, and introduced a composting pilot program at our Southgate Food Processing Center. Based on impressive results, the program has been expanded and we now having composting food waste collected in all 12 Dining Services dining facilities on campus, as well as at the restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center (IVTSCC). Over 406, 582 and 598 tons for composted food waste were collected during calendar years 2011, 2012 and 2013, it is now represents over 25% of the total amount of our principal recyclable materials (PRMs).

The Ytoss Program is a partnership with the YMCA at Virginia Tech and Virginia Tech Recycling (VTR). Held during student move-out at the end of the spring semester, this program has the goal of capturing no longer needed, but reusable, residence hall furniture, appliances, etc. that would have been gone in the trash and delivered to the local landfill. Reusable products are stored throughout the summer and later resold to incoming students during student move-on at the beginning of the fall semester. Ytoss 2011, Ytoss 2012 and Ytoss 2013 captured approximately 20,000, 27,000 and 12,000 pounds respectively of reusable products. Please see the Ytoss 2013 summary at: http://www.it.vpas.vt.edu/docs/sust/op18/FinalSummaryReport_Ytoss2013.pdf

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) continues on a downward trend and the 3,613.4 tons for calendar year 2013 is the lowest in recent memory.

The Office of Energy and Sustainability developed the “Comprehensive Waste Management Plan for Virginia Tech” on July15, 2011. See: http://facilities.vt.edu/documents/sustainability/unlinked/Comprehensive_Waste_Mangement_Plan_Virginia_Tech_7_15_2011_Final.pdf

The Energy and Sustainability Committee, a university governance committee, is responsible for University Policy 5505 “Campus Energy, Water, and Waste Reduction.” Revision 2 was approved on February 28, 2011. See: http://www.policies.vt.edu/5505.pdf


The website URL where information about the institution’s waste reduction initiatives is available:

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.