Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 55.66
Liaison Marian Brown
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Wells College
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.55 / 5.00 Marian Brown
Center for Sustainability and the Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 11.28 Tons 4.44 Tons
Materials composted 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 0.65 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 54.85 Tons 66.03 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 510
+ Date Revised: March 10, 2016
Number of residential employees 1 1
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 543
+ Date Revised: March 10, 2016
Full-time equivalent of employees 175 175
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 0 0

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2015 Dec. 31, 2015
+ Date Revised: March 15, 2016
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2014
+ Date Revised: March 15, 2016
Dec. 31, 2014

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

2014 was the year in which phased in our comprehensive recycling program on campus; until then, we did not have a waste separation areas in all campus buildings nor did we have a commingled recycling roll-off until which we could deposit recyclables for separate hauling. Our waste hauler provided us with a 3-ton recycling credit early in 2014, but it is not clear how that figure was derived as it was not based upon actual collected weight of recyclables.

A brief description of any (non-food) waste audits employed by the institution:

We have conducted several "trash sorts" to gauge the success of our recycling efforts. One was a public demonstration on the campus quad titled "Away", in which all the collected trash and recycling from the residence halls over a weekend was piled in one location. Clear trash bags and blue recycling bags were opened, sorted and separated, visually demonstrating the amount of "mis-cycling" happening. The second trash sort was a collection of one morning's trash/recycling pickup from office areas; the Introduction to Sustainability class conducted this sort in full view of passersby.

A brief description of any institutional procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

Our office supplies contract with Staples has a $50 minimum order limit, which encourages bulk packaging; Staples itself has corporate packaging minimization protocols. We purchase office papers in one bulk shipment and recycle all packaging. Information Technology works with its suppliers to bundle computer equipment purchases to reduce packaging waste; several of the manufacturers have take-back packaging programs including Toshiba, which takes back and recycles printer toner cartridges.

A brief description of any surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

We maintain two reuse programs: the Bargain Basement is a reuse area, open to all members of the campus community, in which excess items (clothing, housewares, room furnishings, costumes, arts & crafts, trade books) can be placed for free exchange. The Bargain Basement is accessible 24/7.

The RUMPUS Room (ReUsable Materials, Paraphernalia, and Utilitarian Supplies) is a free exchange closet for office supplies. RUMPUS Room is accessible 24/7.

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

Most departmental forms are available online through the GLOBE intranet - many are fill-in-able PDFs that can be emailed when completed. The multifunction printers on campus have full scanning and email features, so FAXes can be sent and received as email attachments. Moodle, a courseware platform, is used by many faculty to house course syllabi and other course materials, including readings and assignments. Student work created electronically can be uploaded to Moodle for grading instead of requiring submission of hard copy papers.

A brief description of any limits on paper and ink consumption employed by the institution:

Students utilize the PaperCut system to print out documents; they have a set allotment of copies they can make; once that allotment is exceeded, they are charged. All networked printers have a duplex function to reduce the amount of printed paper.

A brief description of any programs employed by the institution to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

In 2015, Wells conducted its first Trash2Treasure move-out collection, diverting at least 2/3s of a ton of textiles (clothing/bedding) and other reusable materials from landfill trash. Most items were donated to local reuse entities (King Ferry food pantry, thrift store, Finger Lakes ReUse). We re-ran the move-out collection during December, to divert additional material from students graduating early or studying abroad in the spring semester. We did not employ any mechanisms to actually capture weights of the diverted material; we will resolve that issue in spring 2016.

A brief description of any other (non-food) waste minimization strategies employed by the institution:

The Center for Sustainability director approached the Communications department about two modifications to campus letterhead papers and envelopes. In past, all departments and programs ordered custom-printed letterhead with their respective name and location; when that custom imprint information changed in any way, that letterhead stock became unusable. The Center proposed that, except for high-profile departments requiring imprinted letterhead (Advancement and the Office of the President), all other departments and programs utilize generic letterhead stock (also saving on the custom imprint costs!) and include their department information in the body of the document overprinted onto the letterhead. In addition, the Center director noted that the letterhead standard featured left and right margins at 1.5"; she recommended moving those margins out to 1" left/right, offering substantially more "white space" on each page for document text - this practice hopefully eliminated the need for a number of second pages. The new letterhead being purchased features those reduced margins.

A brief description of any food waste audits employed by the institution:

Members of the Campus Greens (student organization) have conducted dining hall "weight the waste" demonstrations.

A brief description of any programs and/or practices to track and reduce pre-consumer food waste in the form of kitchen food waste, prep waste and spoilage:

Wells Dining is a contract food service operator, and the costs for containers, hauling, tip fees for landfill trash, recyclables, cardboard, and waste cooking oil generated from their operations is paid BY their operation, so it is in their interest to reduce any and all waste from dining operations. Dining staff do not currently track the amount of pre-consumer kitchen prep waste being generated, but they are now collecting that compostable material separately, in advance of the College finding a way to "close the loop" for compost processing.

A brief description of programs and/or practices to track and reduce post-consumer food waste:

As mentioned elsewhere, Wells Dining has collaborated with the campus to establish a post-consumer waste separation station that collects compostable food products and paper napkins from trash or recycling. We have not yet established a mechanism to weigh that collected food waste separately from landfill trash, into which it is combined until we "close the loop" on compost hauling and processing. Wells Dining has done an exceptional job of integrating waste reduction strategies: being "trayless" for several years, exclusively offering reusable dishware and utensils, and bulk service of condiments. Almost all sources of possible contaminants in the compost stream have been eliminated. Wells Dining eliminated disposable beverage cups in the dining hall, which had been a source of problems both in the dining hall itself (students would take disposable cups instead of reusable glasses or cups) and in the waste separation stations across campus when materials were mis-cycled.

A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable and/or third party certified compostable to-go containers for to-go food and beverage items (in conjunction with a composting program):

In Fall 2015, the Center for Sustainability and the Environment, the Office of Student Leadership and Activities, and Wells Dining collaborated to issue all members of the campus community (staff, faculty, students) with a reusable beverage container. Wells Dining eliminated disposable hot beverage cups from the dining hall and only offered free beverage fills to be taken out in the diners' own reusable beverage container.

A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable service ware for “dine in” meals and reusable and/or third party certified compostable service ware for to-go meals (in conjunction with a composting program):

Wells Dining exclusively uses reusable serviceware for its "dine in" dining program. If/when Wells integrates a post-consumer food waste compost processing program capable of accepting compostable serviceware, Wells Dining is prepared to switch any packaging for the few "to go" prepared foods available from their "Wall of Convenience" program.

A brief description of any discounts offered to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in to-go food service operations:

The GRIND Cafe, a student run coffee house, offers a 25-cent discount to anyone using their own beverage container. In addition, the GRIND partnered with the Center for Sustainability and the Environment on the GOTCHA card program, an incentive to use reusable mugs. Members of the sustainability-related sustainability programs "spot" those using their reusable beverage container with a card redeemable for a free beverage refill in the bearer's reusable beverage container.

A brief description of other dining services waste minimization programs and initiatives:

The Well, the new pub on campus, utilizes paper-lined reusable plastic baskets and reusable plastic tumblers for its food and drink service.

The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.