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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.20
Liaison Kimberly Williams
Submission Date May 14, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

George Washington University
OP-18: Waste Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.90 / 3.00 Ronda Chapman-Duer
Sustainability Project Facilitator
Division of Operations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Materials recycled, composted, reused, donated, re-sold, or otherwise diverted :
1,310 Tons

Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator :
3,066 Tons

A brief description of programs, policies, infrastructure investments, outreach efforts, and/or other factors that contributed to the diversion rate:

As part of the GW Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy, GW commits to reviewing its impact on and dependence on ecosystems locally, regionally, and globally, and to make a plan to enhance ecosystem services in these regions. GW commits to becoming a Zero Waste campus in the long-term, and aims to increase recycling to 50% by 2017 and to reduce litter on campus. Tactics proposed to achieve these goals include: expanding composting, updating and expanding recycling and waste infrastructure on campus, piloting new technologies, exploring new vendor options and increasing education and awareness.

GW has a comprehensive waste diversion program that includes recycling of containers, paper, cardboard, construction materials, e-waste as well as reuse of furniture. GW runs a pilot composting program in Pelham Commons at the Mount Vernon Campus. Current studies are underway to investigate the feasibility of bringing composting to our Foggy Bottom facilities.

GW is aware that a serious amount of plastic waste is caused by disposable water bottles. That’s why the university is working to reduce the number of disposable water bottles purchased by GW. In 2013, the Office of Sustainability provided durable, reusable water bottles to 2,400 students for the annual Freshman Day of Service event. The Office has also worked with internal and external caterers to eliminate disposable water bottles at event and instead provide refillable water coolers.

In addition, GW will build on its successful Green Move Out program - an annual event that takes place when students leave the campus for the summer. Last year, Green Move-Out collected over 20 tons of clothing, shoes, and household items to be distributed or donated to local community organizations. Part of this effort also includes non-perishable food donations and books - both of which are donated to a local food bank and literacy program, respectively.

The Green Office Network is the primary faculty and staff sustainability engagement program. The Office of Sustainability can help facilitate a conversation and better practices amongst the university faculty and staff. The purpose is to improve awareness, build community and empower staff to make positive, healthy changes, including on waste diversion.

GW participates in Recyclemania, a national program that promotes waste reduction on college campuses by universities competing against one another to reduce waste, and increase recycling and composting. As part of this competition at GW, students conduct an annual waste sort to increase awareness of Recyclemania. Trash collected on campus is spread across a public site on campus, and students sort the trash and remove recycling. In 2012, GW recycled 307,196 pounds of waste during the 8 week competition.


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.