Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.18
Liaison Phil Valko
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Washington University in St. Louis
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.81 / 8.00 Cassandra Hage
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 2,738.13 Tons 1,128.80 Tons
Materials composted 373.73 Tons 2.70 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 22.50 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 4,336.15 Tons 7,123 Tons
Total waste generated 7,470.51 Tons 8,254.50 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:

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, 2009 June 30, 2010

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):

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 4,514 3,998
Number of employees resident on-site 21 20
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 1,365 1,124
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 15,252 11,548
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 13,663 10,413
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 202 0
Weighted campus users 24,033.50 18,599.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.31 Tons 0.44 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
Laboratory equipment No
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires No
Other (please specify below) Yes

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

Construction & Demolition Waste (included in C&D section); EPS/Styrofoam; Confidential paper shredding; electronics; recyclable universal wastes (through the EH&S department)

White goods/appliances, while recycled are not reported above because while they were separately recorded from electronics in our baseline year (FY2010), they are reported within electronics in FY2016 (because our vendor accepts "anything with a cord").

Many surplus furniture items are recirculated within the university or donated outside of the university. However, tracking systems are decentralized and immature, so this material stream is absent from diversion data.

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) :
0 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?:

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?:

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?:

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

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:

The Office of Sustainability works closely with its waste haulers, dining partners, custodial staff and the MRF facilities to monitor contamination rates and rejected loads. In response to rejected loads in the past two years, an extensive community engagement/PR campaign was designed to make system users more aware of common contaminants. Signs were redesigned and student "Recycling Geniuses" were recruited and trained to provide presentations and demonstrations to campus groups and diners in the food service areas.

Whenever contamination loads occur, alerts are sent to the Office of Sustainability, Dining Partners, and Custodial Managers to identify potential issues and notify staff.

Waste audits are performed periodically to better understand contaminated materials.

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:

The Green Ambassador program challenges students to take leadership in promoting recycling and composting at the dining halls. They employ signage above the different waste streams to inform whether common waste items should be recycled, composted or landfilled. The university employs green waste stations at large events to create near-zero waste events, diverting as much as 95% of waste from landfill. WashU was the first university in North America to ban bottled water sales on campus in 2009, installing water fountain retrofits with accompanying signage to show the impact of the ban, saving 500,000 bottles annually, the equivalent of 15,000 gallons of oil each year.

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

Waste Audits are conducted by student volunteers and Office of Sustainability interns. The
students receive and sort two full pulls of all three waste streams (compost, recycling and
landfill) weighing the waste both before and after the sorting process. Audits are conducted in food service/dining areas, which tend to be more contaminated that office and classroom containers.

2-4 waste audits are conducted annually in target dining areas.

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

A section within the Environmental Purchasing Policy sums up the relevant procurement policies designed to prevent and reduce waste (https://resourcemanagement.wustl.edu/purchasing-services/environmental/environmentally-preferred-purchasing/):

1. Waste Reduction

Reducing unnecessary waste on the front-end allows the university to both minimize the inefficient use of our natural resources and benefit economically from decreased handling and disposal costs.

Examples may include:

Purchase remanufactured products such as laser toner cartridges, furniture, equipment and automotive parts whenever practicable, but without reducing safety, quality or effectiveness or adding to cost.
Purchase products that are durable, long lasting, reusable or refillable.
Require suppliers to reduce packaging, where possible, without affecting the safety of the products during transit.
Request packaging that is reusable, recyclable or compostable when suitable uses and programs exist.
Reuse pallets and packaging materials.

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

While a stakeholder group has convened multiple times over the past 2 years, efforts to create a centralized and coordinated surplus property management system has not taken off. Many departments dispose of surplus property through informal networks. Donation to charities is easy, so it happens often. On both main campuses, facilities and building managers promote items for internal reuse frequently. Still, there is a significant opportunity to do more, especially through coordinating with PMs on renovation projects to ensure that all reusable items recirculate.

Through our purchasing website, departments across campus can post unwanted reusable office supplies and furniture for internal donation/purchase online. This site is currently being redesigned to better service the University through ease of use.


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 on campus student free-store, the Trading Post, collects and gives away many student items while gathering and selling the higher quality second-hand items at the end of the year.

A similar systems exists for offices, where offices can post surplus property for recirculation. The BOLT committee also promotes items internally for recirculation among members.

Our Green Office Program encourages seeking reuse items before purchasing new.

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):

Students receive a limited printing quota each semester for printing on-campus in academic labs as well as in residential areas. In 2009, WashU began using PaperCut, a software system that all students use to put their print job in a virtual queue and release the job upon arrival at the printer. If they don't go to the printer to release the job, the print job goes away after 12 hrs. When students view their print account balance, it shows them the environmental impact of their annual printing (# of trees, CO2 emissions, etc.)

Duplex printing is less expensive per page than single sheets. Black and white printing is much less expensive than color. (https://sts.wustl.edu/services/printing/)

Despite a 5% increase in users, printed paper has decreased by 7% between 2015 and 2017.

WashU IT is integrating a practice to set up all new computer to include paper and ink saving defaults (double sided, gray scale).

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:

An increasing number of schools and departments across our campuses are pursuing a paperless office by shifting from paper to electronic records.

Our Green Office Program encourages offices to consider their paper use and document printing to identify documents that may be able to be provided electronically. We are aware of several departments who have made these changes, resulting in significant paper savings.

High count print jobs are commonly published electronically. The Public Affairs Office supports the design and web development of electronic media. The course catalog, bulletins, course schedules and directories have been exclusively online for years.

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

WU Green Ambassadors partner with housekeeping staff to sort and recycle most of the move-in waste, including special collections for styrofoam and soft plastics (https://sustainability.wustl.edu/fall-2017-move-in/).

Share Our Stuff (S.O.S.) is the University's annual event to protect the environment and support those in need in our community by donating the unwanted goods discarded during campus move out. This university-wide collaborative is designed to make it quick and easy for all students to recycle their unwanted items in a location convenient to them whether on or off-campus. 10 box trucks were filled with donated materials in May 2016. (https://sustainability.wustl.edu/share-our-stuff-campaign-supports-regional-community/)

Every year, the Office of Sustainability partners with Residential Life, our housing subsidiary in Quadrangle Management Co., Community and Government Relations, and various student groups to collect, recycle, and donate these goods to those in need within our community. Proceeds go to support local charities.

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

E-waste collection sites give students and faculty the ability to recycle valuable electronic materials. All university-owned e-waste must be properly recycled through the EH&S Department. We also hold annual e-waste recycling drives for students, staff and faculty. In addition, this year we posted signage in the trash rooms of all residential halls informing students that they can take their e-waste to the Student Technology Center for recycling.

In 2012, a turf renovation led to the full donation of one million pounds of turf to over 26 community organizations.

In 2017, 10,000 board feet of lumber was salvaged from 20 100-year trees that were removed for a construction project. Local craftsman consulted to ensure that the trees were cut to a variety of sizes that would easily facilitate creative reuse in interior and exterior design/furnishing applications.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives 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.