Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 57.29
Liaison Jennifer Kleindienst
Submission Date Dec. 1, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Wesleyan University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.81 / 8.00 Jennifer Kleindienst
Sustainability Coordinator
Finance and Administration
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 286.51 Tons 211.72 Tons
Materials composted 120.72 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 25.36 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0.25 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 608.95 Tons 980.68 Tons
Total waste generated 1,041.79 Tons 1,192.40 Tons

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

Used cooking oil is collected by a company to be refined into biodiesel blends. We sell nearly all of our corrugated cardboard to a company that recycles it directly. Electronic waste goes to an e-stewards certified vendor.

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2015 June 30, 2016
Baseline Year July 1, 2007 June 30, 2008

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 baseline was adopted to align with Wesleyan's adoption of the Second Nature Carbon Commitment.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2,921 2,917
Number of employees resident on-site 45 59
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 3,574 2,917
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 1,023 999
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 4,189.25 3,681

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.25 Tons 0.32 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:

CDs, DVDs, floppy discs, cell phones, electronics, clothing, shoes, string lights, fluorescent bulbs, furniture, electronics, woodchips

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) :
5 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:

Newly renovated bins have solid lids for trash and recycling so that people have to look at the sign and lift a lid instead of disposing without thinking. Outdoor bins have largely been replaced with Big Belly units with clear labeling and shaped holes for recycling. Recycling and trash bins are always in pairs.

That said, many locations' recycling bins still have open lids or improperly-shaped holes on lids.

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:

Students and employees receive regular recycling education through orientations and signage. The annual Zero Waste Challenge challenges student and employee participants to store all trash in a quart-sized bag over the course of a week, with a focus on paying attention to what individuals throw away and find ways to reduce waste. The Eco Facilitators are developing a recycling quiz to test and expand student knowledge about recycling.

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

Audits happen periodically to monitor contamination on campus. Audits are done twice a year in dining halls by student interns and volunteers and happen on an ad hoc basis for dorms and academic buildings.

For dining halls, the total weight of food waste and total number of people eating is always calculated to be able to compare year-to-year. In addition, there is always a specific focus, such as average volume of waste on each plate, dining station sources of waste, etc.

For other buildings, we have studied both recycling and trash streams. We've found that recycling is significantly less contaminated than trash is with recyclable items (and people typically are confused by the same items, which we're addressing through education). Through audits, we assessed the approximate percentage of the waste stream that paper towels account for and subsequently removed paper towels from all student residences (with the exception of a guest restroom in each dorm).

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

We have negotiated with WB Mason to deliver office supplies whenever possible in reusable plastic totes instead of cardboard boxes. The Purchasing Office continually advocates for bulk purchasing and combining the purchases of multiple offices to cut costs and reduce packaging. The on-campus convenience store allows students to purchase in bulk.

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

Wesleyan coordinates with departments to reuse office furniture, including desks, chairs, and file cabinets. Several years ago, the former room for surplus supplies was cleaned out and donated to IRN.

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):

Wesleyan Freecycle is a listserv where anyone in the Wesleyan campus community can offer things they don't need or request things they are looking for. Individuals can exchange work-related items (office supplies, furniture, etc.) or personal items (clothing, electronics, children's things, etc.) The only requirement is that everything has to be free. In FY 16, the trade success rate was above 60% and trades grew 372% over the previous year.

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 are charged for all printing at Wesleyan. Information Technology Services (ITS) is in the process of switching to a new card swipe system that will allow students to release a job from any printer by swiping their ID. This will reduce waste from abandoned print jobs in the library and computer labs.
In FY 17, ITS plans to create two separate printers on the lab/classroom computers for black/white and color printing to reduce the number of black/white jobs that end up printed with color toner.

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:

Wesleyan no longer prints any campus directories for distribution. Admission prints and keeps one student directory in its lobby.

The 2016-17 school year is the last year that course catalogs will be printed. Over the past several years, printing has decreased significantly through reduction of the number of pages in the catalogs and through significantly decreased printing of catalogs. Catalogs were previously printed for all students; they are now only printed for faculty members, academic administrative assistants, for on-hand copies with the Registrar, and to give to visitors in the Admissions Office. The registrar has made WesMaps, Wesleyan's course catalog, available online for several years. Admission references WesMaps to anyone who may ask for an electronic version, but notes that parents tend to prefer a hard copy. Admission does not mail any course catalogs.

Printing of course schedules is at the discretion of professors. Admission keeps copies of course schedules in its lobby for students who plan to visit a class.

Student Activities now sends out only postcards for new student orientation, which provide a link to the orientation website, rather than sending out a full orientation booklet to each student. The postcard notes that this change has been made to be more sustainable.

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

Waste Not is a collection and resale event organized by the Sustainability Interns every school year. In May, students donate reusable items to Waste Not. Clothing, food, cleaning supplies, and books are donated immediately, while furniture, kitchen supplies, lamps, and other larger reusable items are stored over the summer. When students return to campus in the fall, Waste Not holds a tag sale for students to purchase what they need for their dorms and houses. Since its inception in 2009, Waste Not has raised $25,000 for local charities and environmentally-based projects, remained financially self-sufficient, and has diverted hundreds of tons of waste from the incinerator.

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

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

Campus is now single-stream, but many locations have not had secondary recycling bins removed from the days of dual stream.

Cooking oil data is from 2015, the most recent year for which there is data.

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.