Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.57
Liaison Jeff Spoelstra
Submission Date July 22, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Western Michigan University
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.25 / 5.00 Carolyn Noack
Manager-Waste Reduction Services
Office for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 778.23 Tons 1,266.54 Tons
Materials composted 109.77 Tons 140.84 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 86.11 Tons 52.62 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,606.46 Tons 1,388.65 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 5,598
+ Date Revised: Sept. 8, 2014
Number of residential employees 10 15
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 20,873 21,486
Full-time equivalent of employees 2,891 2,850
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 756 650

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2012 June 30, 2013
Baseline Year July 1, 2011 June 30, 2012

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

This is the most accurate data we have due to better data collection processes.

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

WMU has done building waste audits several times over the past few years. The most recent was at Schneider Hall to obtain baseline and then performance data while implementing new waste handling procedures. All waste was collected by the custodial staff, sorted and weighed by solid waste reduction staff and then properly disposed.

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

WMU has a 30% copier paper policy. In addition, the Green Cleaning Policy states that paper towel and toilet paper used by building custodial & support services will be 100% post consumer waste content recycled.

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

WMU maintains a Surplus department for many office supplies and furnishings. All unwanted office equipment and supplies are supposed to be routed through Surplus for reuse by other departments or for sale to the general public. Items that don’t sell but are still useable are donated to other organizations.

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

All course catalogs and schedules are only available on-line. Directory is available on-line and in print. Many courses are using E-Learning to provide course materials rather than printing.

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

Undergrads are limited to 500 pages/semester. Graduate students are limited to 750 pages/semester. There are not limits on faculty/staff printing.

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

WMU has had a move-in and move-out program for many years. At move-in, residents are requested to pack in reusable totes rather than cardboard boxes. A special program is set up to collect cardboard and polystyrene foam during move-in. For move-out, WMU has a Trash-to-Treasures program. Useable items are collected and donated to a local social service organization.

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

WMU provides all new students with an EcoMug to reduce use of disposable cups. WMU Dining does not use disposable tableware for meals. Carryout containers are recyclable. Electronic storage of files is encouraged. We have a surplus operation for equipment, furniture and supplies.

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

WMU completed food waste audits in 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014 in select dining halls. Food waste was separated into pre-consumer and post-consumer, and further sorted into fruits/vegetables/paper, dairy/meat, and liquids.

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:

Pre-consumer fruit and vegetable peels/rinds are collected and donated to a local hog farmer for feed.

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

Audits have been conducted several times. Currently there are not appropriate local facilities to compost post-consumer food waste.

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):

None at this time.

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):

WMU has always used reusable service ware for meals, except in emergencies.

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:

WMU’s EcoMug program allows students eating in dining halls to carry out drinks. Disposable cups are not available. In addition, local businesses have partnered with WMU to provide drink and/or food discounts when using an EcoMug.

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

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.