Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 54.15
Liaison Leslie North
Submission Date March 3, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Western Kentucky University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.49 / 8.00 Elizabeth McGrew
Graduate Research Assistant
Social Responsibility & Sustainable Communities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 375.60 Tons 184.03 Tons
Materials composted 15.25 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 17.74 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,826.47 Tons 2,500 Tons
Total waste generated 2,235.06 Tons 2,684.03 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 July 1, 2015 June 30, 2016
Baseline Year June 30, 2007 July 1, 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):

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 4,737 4,393
Number of employees resident on-site 25 25
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 16,143 15,951
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 2,328 2,453
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 3,053 0
Weighted campus users 12,754 14,907.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.18 Tons 0.18 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) No

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

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) :
0 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:

WKU Department of Facilities Management employs three Waste Reduction Associates, whose primary responsibility is to ensure as clean of recycling stream as possible. This includes monitoring recycling dumpsters and recycling bins for contaminants and ensuring recycling bins can always accept more recyclables.

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:

In the Spring, WKU participates in RecycleMania, and in the Fall, we participate in the GameDay Recycling Challenge. Both of these recycling competitions strive to engage students, faculty, and staff in waste-related behavior changes. During RecycleMania, we work with Dining Services to post signs throughout dining locations, and throughout the GameDay Recycling Challenge, we have abundant signage throughout the stadium and tailgating areas. WKU also partnered with Dining Services to conduct a Weigh the Waste Campaign in the Spring, during which we raised awareness of food waste.

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

WKU Resource Conservation conducts two Waste Characterization Studies every year: one in the spring for Earth Day, and one in the Fall for America Recycle's Day. Both Waste Characterization Studies engage classes and student organizations in the activity. We do these Waste Characterization Studies in high-profile, centrally located spaces on campus. This serves to raise awareness to more than just those participating in the activity of waste-related behavior.

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

WKU Resource Conservation has worked with Purchasing to review proposals and make recommendations related to waste reduction. Recommendations to Purchasing include minimal packaging, purchasing in bulk, shipping in reusable containers, and sourcing items that generate less waste long-term (multi-function printers over desktop printers).

Dining Services implemented a Reusable Container Program in the Fall of 2016.

A brief description of the institution's 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 platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse (e.g. of electronics, furnishings, books and other goods):

WKU Surplus' first priority is to maximize the life of University property through reuse on campus. The Coordinator of Resource Conservation manages all Surplus property, and coordinates reuse of as many items as possible. Departments are encouraged to share property or offer it up to other departments when they no longer want them.

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):

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 the institution's initiatives to make materials (e.g. course catalogs, course schedules, and directories) 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 the institution's program 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
-Incoming Students are informed on what can and can't be recycled on campus, where, and how to recycle in the residence hall

For move out
-Housing and Residence Life coordinates "Lighten Your Load", an effort to divert usable items from the dumpsters and are donated.
I would like to share the results of the 2016 Lighten Your Load Collection. First and foremost I would like to thank the HRL Student Staff and Professional Staff that assisted with Lighten Your Load this year. It would not be a successful program without your help and dedication. Also, would like to thank WKU Recycling for assisting with the sorting of the items.

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 years is very strong and we know that our donations are helping many individuals in our own community.

Here are the results:

Clothing and accessories: 3,366
Hangers: 1000
Household Goods (small appliances, decorative items, lamps, mirrors, cleaning supplies, storage containers, etc.): 1,779 items
School Supplies: 432 items
Appliances (Refrigerators, Microwaves, and Televisions): 47 items

Non- Perishable Food Items (by weight): 1,574 lbs

Total items collected: 6,624 (Clothing, Household goods, school supplies, and appliances)

It was another successful Lighten Your Load collection this year. Donations in all categories were down this year. There were 1,533 less items collected this year to last year. Even with the decrease in donations the program is still going strong and benefits our community.

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

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.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives 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.