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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 68.76
Liaison Kimberly Williams
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

George Washington University
OP-23: 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 diverted from the solid waste landfill or incinerator:
1,163.80 Tons

Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator :
2,704.80 Tons

A brief description of programs, policies, infrastructure investments, outreach efforts, and/or other factors that contributed to the diversion rate, including efforts made during the previous three years:

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 2014, the Office of Sustainability again 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 facilitates 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.

A brief description of any food donation programs employed by the institution:

On April 5, 2013, student member and volunteers for the GW chapter Food Recovery Network (FRN) collected their first prepared food donation from a Sodexo-managed kitchen in our J-Street food complex. Since that time, the FRN has collected and donated foods from additional events outside of GW's Sodexo dining venues.

As part of the national Food Day celebration, the Office of Sustainability partnered with the GW Urban Food Task Force and many other key stakeholders to donate fresh produce to one of the District's lowest-income communities. GW students, staff, and faculty came together to distribute enough produce to close to 100 families and senior citizens. The food donations came through Sodexo, the Washington Youth Garden, and the GW Student Community Grow Garden.

A brief description of any pre-consumer food waste composting program employed by the institution:

Gw's Mount Vernon Campus dining hall has participated in pre-consumer food waste collection for about five years. Beginning in the fall of 2014, the pre-consumer food waste collection program was expanded to include the JStreet dining hall at the GW Foggy Bottom Campus. JStreet Dining is the main dining hall for the university and serves hundreds of students daily.

A brief description of any post-consumer food waste composting program employed by the institution:

GW composts at designated events, usually in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability. At roughly ten events per year composting is available. These include large catered events and sporting concessions.

As part of GW's Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy, GW began piloting post-consumer composting at the Pelham Commons dining facility in the spring semester of 2013. GW is collaborating with Sodexo and student organizations to provide the necessary training and education to ensure that staff and students are effectively composting.

GW has implemented pre-consumer compost collection on the main Foggy Bottom campus. We have the goal of including post-consumer composting Spring 2014.

Does the institution include the following materials in its waste diversion efforts?:
Yes or No
Paper, plastics, glass, metals, and other recyclable containers Yes
Food donations Yes
Food for animals No
Food composting Yes
Cooking oil No
Plant materials composting Yes
Animal bedding composting No
Batteries Yes
Light bulbs Yes
Toner/ink-jet cartridges Yes
White goods (i.e. appliances) Yes
Laboratory equipment No
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets No
Motor oil No
Tires No

Other materials that the institution includes in its waste diversion efforts:

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.