Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 60.52
Liaison Lindsey MacDonald
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Western Washington University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.49 / 8.00 Richard Neyer
Program Support Supervisor 2
Student Activities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 432.80 Tons 474 Tons
Materials composted 78.12 Tons 0.10 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 21.94 Tons 12 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,604.85 Tons 1,998 Tons
Total waste generated 2,137.71 Tons 2,484.10 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 30, 2015 Aug. 1, 2016
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2012 Jan. 1, 2013

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):

The baseline we use comes from the most recent STARS submission. No official policies and plans have included a baseline for measuring our waste measurement.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 3,882 3,984
Number of employees resident on-site 0 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 14,486.20 13,960.50
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 1,914 1,699
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 134 122
Weighted campus users 13,170.15 12,649.13

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.16 Tons 0.20 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) Yes

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

All used PLA material is reused for 3D printers along with the reels in which the material is packaged. All state-owned equipment and goods goes to the surplus first and is either re-used or recycled by the surplus facility.

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) :

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:

Each year, the Recycling Center organizes a waste audit at residence halls in order to determine the average contamination of recycling barrels. This year, only paper barrels were inspected and it was found that the average contamination in residence halls is 17%. In the future it is planned to conduct more waste audits, at all buildings, and of all recycling depots, in order to determine the change of contamination over time.

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:

All sorting stations have educational signage, Zero Waste Western provides class presentations throughout the year, the annual Coffee Cup Challenge encourages students to use a reusable travel mug, workshops and educational tabling take place throughout each academic year to inform students on how they can reduce individual waste production. ResRap coordinates Go for the Green which has a large number of waste related events in residence halls such as "Mug Decorating", "Zero Waste Pumpkin Carving", and several clothing exchanges. During waste audits an educational table is staffed to engage students and staff walking by in conversation regarding campus waste management. In addition, the Recycling Center has recently become involved with social media (Instagram and Facebook), where they post pictures, fun facts, and updates about sorting and recycling. 

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

Waste audits have been performed at least once each quarter since 2009. Waste audits have been performed on nearly all WWU buildings. Waste is sorted into 17 smaller categories within the larger compost/ paper recycle/ container recycle/ landfill categories such as aluminum, cardboard, paper cups etc. Our average sample size is 100 lbs. Audits consistently show roughly 30% recycle and 30% compost makes up our landfill compostition. Audits are performed on waste collected from dumpsters so only the landfill stream is analyzed. The Recycling Center began auditing recycling bins last year. An audit was performed in June 2016 on waste from the Big Belly Solar Stations in Red Square to analyze their effectiveness and give a broader understanding of our general waste stream as all four sections (compost, paper recycle, container recycle and landfill) were assessed at this time.

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

Banned the sale of single use water bottles.

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

WWU offers a materials exchange program for furniture and a few other office supplies. These items include tables, chairs, couches, file cabinets, and various other pieces.

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):

Move-Out Madness:
At the end of every school year, Western Washington University and the City of Bellingham partner to sponsor the annual “WWU Move-Out Madness” event in several neighborhoods near the university.

This program targets neighborhoods with high student populations, including Happy Valley, Sehome, and York. One collection point will be set up in each neighborhood for students to sort their landfill, recyclables and donation items at no charge.

Each year the neighborhood collection sites, which are monitored by City of Bellingham Public Works staff to ensure that no hazardous or garden/yard waste is disposed of in the dumpsters, are at the following locations:

York Neighborhood – Franklin Park(South end), 400 block of Whatcom Street
Sehome Neighborhood – Laurel Park at Indian and Laurel Streets
Happy Valley Neighborhood – Gravel parking lot at 26th & Douglas
In the past, neighborhoods with a high population of student residents have been littered with improperly discarded items at the end of spring quarter as students are eager to move out. Move-Out Madness is a convenient way to responsibly dispose of unwanted items like garbage, recyclables and other reusable items. We aim to reduce waste on the streets of Bellingham and in landfills.


Lost and Found Sale:
Once every quarter, there is a Lost and Found resale of items lost and submitted to the main Lost and Found desk. There are clothing exchanges organized by the Office of Sustainability, where students can bring their clothing items and exchange them for someone else's item.


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):

Western Washington limits on campus printing for students. Starting in the fall of 2011 a new printing quota was implemented where every student receives 25 free pages of printing on campus per quarter. Once the quarterly quota of 25 pages has been met students are required to pay $.05 per black and white page and $.25 per color page.

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:

Western Washington University administration makes sure to only print out necessary materials. Course schedules and catalogs as well as directories are available online and are promoted to be viewed in that fashion. If an individual requests one of these documents in print form they will receive them on 100% recycled paper.

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

During move-in, the Recycling Center student employees place extra attention on cardboard pick-ups, as they notice a larger amount of cardboard compared to other recyclables at that time of the year. Typically extra signs are put up in the recycling depots of the residence halls, this year, Eco Reps (ResRap program) as well as Recycle Center employees helped assist new residents sort their recyclables and waste properly. During move-out season, the Recycling Center facilitate a donation drive known as the "Recovery Drive." It takes place during the last few weeks of Spring quarter leading up to move-out week. During this time, the employees place two barrels near the lobbies of each residence hall, and label them "Recovery Drive Donations," so that those items students would typically throw away can be put to another cause. Items usually include: donate clothing, electronics, appliances, soap, non-perishable food, and furniture. These items are then collected, brought back to the Recycling Center, sorted into categories, and donated to Goodwill. 2016 was the 28th annual Recovery Drive and an increase in donation items has been noticed compared to the year before. These donation drives help reduce the waste accumulation during move-out. 

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

Western students used an initiative process to place a measure on the 2012 student ballot to ban the sale of bottled water. Citing environmental and social issues associated with the production and transport of bottled water, the Students for Sustainable Water group promoted the initiative throughout campus. Bottled water is no longer sold on campus, instead water fountains and filling stations are widely available across campus.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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.