Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.69
Liaison Jennifer Kleindienst
Submission Date April 5, 2023

STARS v2.2

Wesleyan University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.91 / 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 296.55 Tons 211.72 Tons
Materials composted 191.30 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 29.72 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 903.79 Tons 980.68 Tons
Total waste generated 1,421.36 Tons 1,192.40 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:
Used cooking oil is collected by a company to be refined into biodiesel blends.

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2021 June 30, 2022
Baseline Period July 1, 2007 June 30, 2008

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:
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 2,394 2,917
Number of employees resident on-site 38 59
Number of other individuals resident on-site 1 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 3,564.30 2,917
Full-time equivalent of employees 982.10 999
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 4,018.80 3,681

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.35 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
Electronics 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:
Recycled: standard single-stream recycling, CDs, DVDs, floppy discs, cell phones, clothing, shoes, string lights, fluorescent bulbs, furniture, electronics, woodchips, plastic film, pillows, writing utensils, oral care packaging, skin care packaging, hair care packaging, tennis balls, masks Donated/re-sold: dorm items, used office and residential furniture Composted: food waste, compostable disposable products (cups, plates, straws, etc.), leaves/brush

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year:
3.23 Tons

Does the institution use single stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:
Recycling and trash bins are always in pairs. Newly renovated bins have solid lids for trash and Saturn lids for recycling so that people are encouraged to think before disposing of materials (these were removed during COVID but most are back in place). Outdoor bins have been replaced with Big Belly units with clear labeling and shaped holes for recycling; compost is available in high-traffic indoor (Max-R) and outdoor (Big Belly) locations: https://www.wesleyan.edu/sustainability/resources/compost-guidelines.html.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:
Students and employees receive regular recycling education through orientations and signage. The Sustainability Office developed Sustainability EDU in Summer 2019, a quiz to test and expand student knowledge about recycling and other sustainability initiatives on campus; this has been updated and repeated in each subsequent year.

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 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); these were unfortunately reinstalled during COVID and are still in place with concerns about COVID, flu, RSV, and other viruses. These are slated to be removed again in Summer 2023.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:
The Purchasing Office continually advocates for bulk purchasing and combining the purchases of multiple offices to cut costs and reduce packaging. Getting food to-go at one of the dining halls is only allowed in a reusable Eco to Go container. The on-campus convenience store allows students to purchase in bulk and does not offer any disposable bags.

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 internally reuse office furniture, including desks, chairs, and file cabinets. Each year, surplus supplies unneeded on campus are donated to IRN. Wesleyan's campus Freecycle network that sees regular exchanges of office supplies and furniture.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:
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 22, the trade success rate was approximately 48% and grew to 468 active members (up 50 members from FY 19).

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:
Students and employees are charged for all printing at Wesleyan. Information Technology Services (ITS) has switched to a new card swipe system that releases a job from any printer by swiping the individual's ID. This reduces waste from abandoned print jobs. ITS has created 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 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 was the last year that course catalogs were printed. The registrar has made WesMaps, Wesleyan's course catalog, available online for over a decade. 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. Admission keeps 1 copy of visitation schedules in its lobby for students who plan to visit a class. 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 New Student Orientation information only electronically via an app and orientation website.

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 student Sustainability Coordinators every year. In May, students donate reusable items to Waste Not. Clothing, food, cleaning supplies, select dorm 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 $48,000 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:
In Spring 2022, student Eco Facilitators began a pop-up free thrift store; this gained a permanent location in Fall 2022. WesThrift is now open in the basement of the College of the Environment, also home to the Sustainability Office. Read more at https://www.wesleyan.edu/sustainability/resources/westhrift.html and https://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2022/09/20/westhrift-promotes-sustainability-and-equity/.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts 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.