Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 51.83
Liaison Leslie North
Submission Date Jan. 9, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Western Kentucky University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.61 / 5.00 Sara Hutchison
Recycling and Surplus Coordinator
Facilites Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 296.67 Tons 184.03 Tons
Materials composted 7.67 Tons 0 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 2,003.64 Tons 2,500 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 4,417 4,393
Number of residential employees 25 25
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 16,362 15,951
Full-time equivalent of employees 2,368 2,453
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 June 30, 2013 July 1, 2014
Baseline Year June 30, 2007 July 1, 2008

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

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

Since 2008, several "garbology" audits have been conducted by an Intro to Archeology Course. A dumpster is chosen on campus and the contents are emptied. The students of the class document each item from the dumpster and categorize the items as recyclable or solid waste. The results are shared via class presentations and university emails.

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

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

In 2011, recycling and surplus operations were consolidated into one department. Since then, official surplus "viewing hours" have been instituted to allow for more opportunities to see items available before staff purchases new. A website was developed, Topper Trader, that allows items to be reserved online and pictures viewed, and all-staff emails are infrequently used when a large amount of nice or usable items are available to campus staff.

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

In 2013, course evaluations switched to online rather than paper submission, eliminating a significant amount of paper. Additionally, students and parents can elect to receive billing and other correspondence electronically rather than by mail.

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

All students have a print limit in academic computer labs. Each year, each student receives a $150 print allowance. The labs are all default duplex and users are asked if they are certain they want to print the item before it prints.


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

For move in-
-recycling dumpsters are placed right beside trash dumpsters.
-Signage and grounds crews are used to break down and reroute students to using the proper containers

For move out
-Housing and Residence Life coordinates "Lighten Your Load", an effort to divert usable items from the dumpsters and are donated. The following is from May 2014 efforts (but are not included in our weights):

Once again this year all items that were collected were donated to the Bowling Green Housing Authority. The partnership that we have established over the past several years is very strong and we know that our donations are helping many individuals in our own community.

Here are the results:

Clothing and Hangers: 4,828 items
Household Goods (small appliances, decorative items, lamps, mirrors, etc.): 1,358 items
School Supplies: 527 items
Appliances (Refrigerators, Microwaves, and Televisions): 42 items

Non- Perishable Food Items (by weight): 1,756 lbs

Total items collected: 6,755 (Clothing, Household goods, school supplies, and appliances)

Once again it was another successful Lighten Your Load collection this year. Even though it seemed like donations were less this year we actually collected 977 more items of clothing, household goods, school supplies, and appliances compared to 2013. In addition, we collected 714 pounds more non-perishable food than in 2013.

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

Aramark, our food services vendor states the following:

We have removed straws from Fresh Food Company as well due to the fact the wrappers can not be composted. We also advertise right by the tray belt how many tons have been diverted from the landfill by using the new composting unit. It was last updated on or around 10/15/14.

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

Aramark, our food services vendor states the following:

Aramark has a waste management program that is intended to stop the biggest portion of our pre-consumer food waste at the prep station. Employees put all food waste in a plastic bin so they can see visibly what they are wasting as they prep and a manager goes over with them better ways to reduce waste (cut lettuce to the core, but not use the core, cut tomato tops smaller, etc.) if needed. This waste is weighed and tracked daily in our system. Also, we use the composting system in the student union for all food waste produced by the customers at Fresh Food Company and pre-consumer food waste out of the waste bins from all units in DSU.

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:

Aramark, our food services vendor states the following:

We are working towards getting composting going for all post consumer waste but we aren't quite there yet. Retail locations tend to be harder for the post consumer waste due to the fact you must rely on the customer to place the food in the proper bins and have 3 bins available at all trash stations. It takes dedication from our management, cooks, prep people, and utility crew for our waste management system to work and they are all very dedicated to the cause.

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

Post and pre- consumer foods from the student union dining hall is placed into a compost system. The food waste is pulped, collected in a bin and taken to a local arboretum, where it is finished as compost and used on site. We receive monthly weights, and since the program was implemented in January 2104, we have averaged approximately 1 ton of pre and post consumer food waste per month diverted from the landfill to compost.

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):

WKU went to tray less dining in 2009. In several of the food retail outlets, including Burrito Bowl and Freshens, to-go containers are compostable, but these are not captured in the composting program.

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):

Aramark is looking into options but after a failed pilot of this program, we do not have any reusable options currently.

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:

Customers are given a discount for using their own coffee mug in all campus coffee shops.

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

Aramark on our campus has tried to participate in Recyclemania for a number of years, however there is not a concerted or collaborated effort to make this program significantly impactful.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.