Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.79
Liaison Leslie North
Submission Date March 5, 2020

STARS v2.2

Western Kentucky University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.86 / 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 526.81 Tons 184.03 Tons
Materials composted 156.59 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 156.14 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,431.82 Tons 2,500 Tons
Total waste generated 2,271.36 Tons 2,684.03 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:
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Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period Jan. 1, 2019 Dec. 31, 2019
Baseline Period June 30, 2007 July 1, 2008

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:
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Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 4,557 4,393
Number of employees resident on-site 25 25
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 14,455 15,951
Full-time equivalent of employees 1,837 2,453
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 1,504.30 0
Weighted campus users 12,236.28 14,907.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.19 Tons 0.18 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:
0

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:
36.96

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):
36.96

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 Yes
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:

Books: Withdrawn reference books account for 71.43 tons of waste diverted through recycling in 2019.

Textiles: Surplus & the Fashion Merchandising Program collaborate to divert textile waste from the landfill. For example, students re-use outdated police and custodial uniforms in their annual “up-cycling project.” Media link http://wkutalisman.com/upcycling-police-uniforms/

Toner Cartridges: WKU partners with MaxCartridge Rewards to recycle all waste toner cartridges. In 2019, WKU recycled 342 toner cartridges.

Computers: Surplus & the Student Government Association partner to redistribute surplus iMacs to students in need through the Earn-A-Computer Program. Through this Program, WKU students can earn a surplus Apple computer by completing 35 service hours at a non-profit organization of their choice. Surplus partners with the Student Government Organization to process applications, verify service hours, and award computers to qualifying students. In 2019, the program had 24 applicants; pending service hour verification, all will be awarded computers. Media link: https://wkuherald.com/news/computer-less-students-to-be-given-opportunity-for-free-desktop/article_0773ebfc-d365-11e9-8cb9-6fb1c0e03124.html

Surplus Sales and Donations: WKU auctions or electronically recycles all electronics used on campus.


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

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

Does the institution use dual stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
No

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:
No

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:
15

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:

Daily: WKU Department of Facilities Management employs three full-time Waste Reduction Associates; one of their daily responsibilities is monitor and reduce contamination in all outdoor receptacles, reporting “common offenders, outliers, and any issues to the Resource Conservation Coordinator, who communicates proper recycling and waste disposal procedures to the appropriate person (usually, the Building Coordinator).

Athletic Events: WKU works with organizations to clean up athletic venues after home football and basketball games. Prior to cleaning, volunteers are trained on proper recycling procedures, including the requirement to pour excess liquid from the container before recycling it. Through educating 959 volunteers in 2019, this initiative has been effective in reducing contamination and increasing total recyclables diverted. In fact, although WKU’s campus-wide diversion rate is only 37%, volunteers average an 82% diversion rate when cleaning after athletic events!


A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:

GameDay Recycling Challenge: Throughout each football season, WKU participates in the GameDay Recycling Challenge. This national competition engages students, faculty, staff, and fans in waste-related behavior changes. Prior to every home game, “Bag Bundles” are distributed to fans tailgating; these consist of a black trash bag and a green recycling bag that are rolled up and secured with an educational, “GameDay Recycling Challenge” mini-flyer designed to educate fans about game-day waste, what to recycle, and the competition.

Weigh the Waste: WKU partnered with Dining Services to conduct a Weigh the Waste Campaign during the first week of the semester and academic year.

Greeks Go Green: As part of an Honor’s Thesis Project, a WKU student established Greeks Go Green in 2019. This initiative strives to leverage the competitive spirit amongst Greek organizations for positive change. In its first year (2019), fifteen organizations, each with an average of 100 members, registered to participate in Greeks Go Green. The Greeks Go Green Leadership team presents to chapters monthly on different sustainability-related topics and competition categories. Web link: https://www.wku.edu/recycling/greeks_go_green.pdf

Cupanion: WKU launched the Cupanion program in the Fall of 2019, distributing 2500 reusable water bottles to incoming Freshmen upon moving in. In the first 5 months of the program, Cupanion participants avoided using 5,301plastic bottles, reduced plastic waste by 159 pounds, reduced carbon emissions by 2,332 pounds, and conserved 3,021 kWh of energy.

WKU Food Recovery: In it's first year, WKU Food Recovery recovered and donated 1,604 pounds of food to local non-profit organizations that feed those in need. Through daily recoveries, this organization raises awareness about food waste and positive solutions across campus, impacting students and food-service staff. FRN Chapter link: https://www.foodrecoverynetwork.org/kentucky#WKU
Daily logs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UPuzrGlefsgwMtAXD7-02lmwu61n2PeoMDQGh_hwAqw/edit#gid=1683614742

Athletic Events: WKU works with organizations to clean up athletic venues after home football and basketball games. Prior to cleaning, volunteers are trained on proper recycling procedures, including the requirement to pour excess liquid from the container before recycling it. Through educating 959 volunteers in 2019, this initiative has been effective in reducing contamination and increasing total recyclables diverted. In fact, although WKU’s campus-wide diversion rate is only 37%, volunteers average an 82% diversion rate when cleaning after athletic events!


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 at least two Waste Characterization Studies annually. Both Waste characterization studies serve as lab components for a sustainability-focused course, engaging between 30-50 students in each activity. Furthermore, each waste characterization study is conducted in a highly visible central location to increase awareness and encourage additional participation, questions, etc. Data from an audit of a Residence Hall with a Dining Location (Hilltopper Hall) can be found on our website: https://www.wku.edu/recycling/


A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

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).

Managed Print Services Contract: In efforts to reduce waste and costs associated with printing and electronics, WKU recently entered into a Managed Print Services contract. Currently in transition, one centrally located milti-function printer/copier/scanner will replace multiple personal desktop printers. This will reduce electronic waste significantly, as well as personal and/or unnecessary printing.

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:

Surplus: Surplus manages the responsible redistribution, donation, sale, or disposal of all University-owned assets. An area in the Surplus “Warehouse” is dedicated to office supplies; faculty and staff are encouraged to visit Surplus during weekly “Open Hours” on Wednesdays and Fridays. Surplus also posts pictures of items on the WKU Surplus Facebook page. In 2019, these efforts resulted in 40,323 pounds, or over 600 items reused, including 3 vehicles, one trailer, lab equipment, monitors, furniture, and more! Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/wkusurplus/


A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:

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. Items are advertised on the Surplus Facebook page to help facilitate reuse. Departments are also encouraged to share property or offer it to other departments.


A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:

Student Printing Allowance: Students receive a printing allowance each semester to encourage consciousness; furthermore, they are prompted to confirm, “Are you sure you want to print,” to reduce unintended printing. http://www.wku.edu/it/labs/printing.php

Default Duplex Printing: All computer labs are set to duplex print by default.

Managed Print Services Contract: In efforts to reduce waste and costs associated with printing and electronics, WKU recently entered into a Managed Print Services contract. Currently in transition, one centrally located milti-function printer/copier/scanner will replace multiple personal desktop printers. This will reduce electronic waste significantly, as well as personal and/or unnecessary printing.


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

Move-In:
- Recycling dumpsters are placed beside trash dumpsters for convenient sorting and disposal.
- Staff are present daily throughout Move-In to monitor all containers and assist students with breaking down cardboard boxes, sorting materials, etc.

Move-Out: Housing and Residence Life coordinates "Lighten Your Load," an initiative to recover reusable items from students as they move out. "Lighten Your Load" sorts and donates thousands of non-perishable food items, hundreds of clothing pieces and accessories, refrigerators, microwaves, and household items to the Bowling Green Housing Authority. These items are dispersed for free to Housing Authority residents.

Here are the results for Lighten your Load 2016.
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)

Resource Conservation begin meeting with SGA students in 2019 to develop a program to redistribute small appliances (mini-fridges, microwaves) to students in need. This program has not yet materialized, but it is a future goal.


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

WKU Food Recovery: In its first year, WKU Food Recovery recovered and donated 1,604 pounds of food to local non-profit organizations that feed those in need. Through daily recoveries, this organization raises awareness about food waste and positive solutions across campus, impacting students and food-service staff. FRN Chapter link: https://www.foodrecoverynetwork.org/kentucky#WKU
Daily logs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UPuzrGlefsgwMtAXD7-02lmwu61n2PeoMDQGh_hwAqw/edit#gid=1683614742

Computers: Surplus & the Student Government Association partner to redistribute surplus iMacs to students in need through the Earn-A-Computer Program. Through this Program, WKU students can earn a surplus Apple computer by completing 35 service hours at a non-profit organization of their choice. Surplus partners with the Student Government Organization to process applications, verify service hours, and award computers to qualifying students. In 2019, the program had 24 applicants; pending service hour verification, all will be awarded computers. Media link: https://wkuherald.com/news/computer-less-students-to-be-given-opportunity-for-free-desktop/article_0773ebfc-d365-11e9-8cb9-6fb1c0e03124.html

Surplus Facebook Page: Surplus posts pictures of items on the WKU Surplus Facebook page and holds “Open Hours” weekly to encourage reuse of surplus assets. In 2019, these efforts resulted in 40,323 pounds, or over 600 items reused, including 3 vehicles, one trailer, lab equipment, monitors, furniture, and more! Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/wkusurplus/


Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Resource Conservation invests significant energy into promoting waste-reduction education at WKU's M.A.S.T.E.R Plan orientation and at RA trainings (explained in EN-2). Resource Conservation has also partnered with Athletics to educate fans on recycling and composting (explained in IN-16).

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.