Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.01
Liaison Paul Mathisen
Submission Date May 23, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.32 / 8.00 Liz Tomaszewski
Facilities Systems Manager/Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Department
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 231.50 Tons 284.49 Tons
Materials composted 70 Tons 60 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 3 Tons 3 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 610.51 Tons 636.72 Tons
Total waste generated 915.01 Tons 984.21 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 July 1, 2013 June 30, 2014

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):

Accurate data was available from these dates

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2,060 1,860
Number of employees resident on-site 4 4
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 1 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 5,718 4,125
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 1,108 916
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 236 134
Weighted campus users 5,459.50 4,146.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.17 Tons 0.24 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 Yes
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:

WPI works with the City of Worcester and local non-profits to donate any supplies, equipment, and furniture that are no longer used. In additional to recycling old computers and peripherals, our Information Technology reworks old but usable computers for re-use in the local school district, and the institution offers a free electronics waste drive to the entire WPI community each spring. In May of each year, WPI holds a move-out drive and donates clothing and small appliances to a local thrift store.

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) :
15 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:

The Department of Facilities and Student Green Team conduct an annual waste audit on America Recycles Day. This audit analyzes one day's waste and recycling from three to six buildings, then sorts it to determine potential recycling rate. A report is published to illustrate issues that were discovered and recommendations for future action.

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:

Before the start of the academic year, students volunteered to develop new signage that depicted items from our own campus and identified what was recyclable or not. Posters were made and are placed with each and every recycling/waste container on campus. During New Student Orientation, a presentation is made that describes ways to improve our recycling.

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

WPI did a waste audit on America Recycles Day in 2011 and has repeated it every November or April since then. Students, staff, and faculty sort through waste and recycling from residential and administrative/academic buildings to determine the building level waste and recycling rates. The Student Green Team then produces a report that is posted on the sustainability web site that shows the actual recycling rates as well as the potential recycling rates.

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

WPI faculty and staff are encouraged to consolidate orders, make use of electronic or CD-ROM catalogs, and buy only what they need. Further, WPI gives preference to products that are durable, reusable, upgradeable, and recyclable or compostable.

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

WPI has surplus inventory for equipment and furniture that it reuses on campus, gives to employees, and donates to local school districts and non profit agencies in and around Worcester. We do not monitor the weight of surplus items that are recycleld in this way but this year the amount was likely around 10,000s of pounds.

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):

WPI provides a community-wide service that encourages peer-to-peer exchange and reuse of goods via the "potpourri@wpi.edu alias. This exchange platform is highly used by the members of the community.

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):

Students pay for all printing; all printers purchased through WPI have settings that default to double-sided printing.

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:

WPI encourages the use of online resources. Course catalogs, directories, and instructional materials are all available online. Limited printing of materials is done and community members are directed to online resources.

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

There is a "Movin' Out" Drive conducted every May to collect unwanted items from students. These items are then donated to a local charity.

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

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.