Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.38
Liaison Olivia Shehan
Submission Date Nov. 13, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Wellesley College
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
1.78 / 8.00 Dorothea Von Herder
Sustainability Coordinator
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 214.82 Tons 160 Tons
Materials composted 1,200 Tons 357.03 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 31.80 Tons 7.28 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 987.45 Tons 1,184.96 Tons
Total waste generated 2,434.07 Tons 1,709.27 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 Jan. 1, 2017 Dec. 31, 2017
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2011 Dec. 31, 2011

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):

2011 was chosen as the base line year for our 2015 report, so we have kept it the same.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2,069 2,179
Number of employees resident on-site 15 13
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 2,419 2,222
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 1,141 1,032.62
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 3,191 2,988.97

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.76 Tons 0.57 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) 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) Yes

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

We have upgrading our recycling program by creating community awareness, student involvement, and paid student workers to conduct recycling audits. In 2012 Wellesley College instituted a styrofoam recycling program in addition to our regular recycling efforts. In 2016 the college recycled 440 pounds of polystyrene (Styrofoam).

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) :

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:

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:

Each year we educate students on bringing less to campus and instead by from our Move-in Sale.

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

ES 300, a class dedicated to researching environmental issues on campus, regularly conducts projects which include audits of waste and pollutant emission on campus. In 2012 this class audited the College's general waste stream (including primary materials, paper, plastics, organics, and durable goods such as electronics) and in both 2003 and 2008 this class conducted an audit of the College's greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, the class published a report called "We-Cycle: A Systems Approach to Improving
Recycling Practices at Wellesley College." The report can be seen here: https://www.wellesley.edu/sites/default/files/assets/departments/environmentalscience/files/es300-2018-we-cycle.pdf.

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

We encourage bulk purchasing at the department level.

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

Office furnishings, as well laboratory equipment, old residential furniture, and other reusable goods are reused or donated. Our Distribution Center acts as a holding area where college personnel can obtain items. As much as possible all other useable items are donated. Much of what we dispose of is donated to local non-profit organizations. Also, the copy center collects paper that has only been used on one side and creates notepads out of this recycled paper.

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 Wellesley Free and For Sale Facebook page allows students to buy and sell used items to each other.

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):

Papercut ( a software program which manages common printing) has significantly reduced the consumption of paper and toner for printing. Duplex printing and copying copying is strongly encouraged and all-black printing is the default. All computers which can be printed from in the Student Center and Libraries have standard reminders about responsible paper use and students are given a limited number of printing credits each year, which can be reset upon request, but which forces them to keep their paper usage in mind before they choose to print.

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:

Everything is offered online, although some are still printed out if requested.

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

Every year in May since 2010, the Office of Sustainability has provided large bins and staffs extra custodial staff to each residence hall for students to donate dorm items that they are unable to bring home with them. Instead of being thrown in the trash, these items are donated and/or resold at the Sustainable Move-In Sale to students moving back to campus in the fall at a fraction of their retail cost. Items that are sold include containers, furniture, refrigerators, lamps, hangers, electronics, beauty supplies, books, bags, school supplies, home decor, games, kitchen supplies, and more. All proceeds of this event go towards sustainability projects on campus. Tons of items are collected to be resold, reused, and/or donated every year. Since 2017, Wellesley has partnered with the local nonprofit GradBag to provide low income first generation college students at Boston area schools with a low income kit. The three area colleges which donate to GradBag produced an estimated 45k value donation in 2017.

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

Wellesley partners with Utec in Lawrence, MA to recover and reuse materials from dilapidated student mattresses. Where possible we partner with local nonprofits to donate materials. For example, in 2018 two thousand pillows were used to package donations bound for Ghana.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.