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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 Silver
Overall Score 57.22
Liaison Roxane Beigel-Coryell
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Southern Oregon University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.35 / 8.00 Roxane Beigel-Coryell
Sustainability & Recycling Coordinator
Facilities Management & Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 319.10 Tons 0 Tons
Materials composted 227 Tons 53.70 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 5.70 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 334.30 Tons 469.78 Tons
Total waste generated 886.10 Tons 523.48 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, 2004 June 30, 2005

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):

We adopted a baseline of the 2005 Fiscal Year, as it was the first year that we had data available from the local waste hauler.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 1,068 1,008
Number of employees resident on-site 2 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 4,200 3,913.80
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 684 635
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 191 22.50
Weighted campus users 3,787.25 3,646.73

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.23 Tons 0.14 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 No
Plant materials Yes
Animal bedding No
White goods (i.e. appliances) Yes
Laboratory equipment No
Furniture No
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires No
Other (please specify below) No

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

Southern Oregon University makes every effort to divert as much waste as possible from the landfill. While local access to recycling markets is limited, we have forged community partnerships to divert waste streams that would otherwise be headed to the landfill. While we divert many waste streams, such as tires, motor oil, surplus furniture, appliances, light bulbs, batteries, etc., there is no process in place to track weight or volume of many of these materials, therefore some of them are not included in the figures reported above.

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:

Southern Oregon University built a campus recycling center in 2011 that employs students to hand-sort through all campus recycling to remove any contamination. The university provides the cleanest recycling stream in the region due to the recycling center. It also allows the recycling program to have a thorough understanding of what the most common contaminants are in order to provide targeted education and communication on campus.

The Sustainability at SOU office employs a student Zero Waste Coordinator to conduct events and provide educational outreach for the campus on how to properly recycle and how to reduce waste.

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:

SOU's Recycling Program facilitates countless initiatives throughout the year to encourage students and university employees to shift individual attitudes and practices around waste. These initiatives include regular tabling with recycling games and information, a residence hall competition, intentional signage with sustainable behaviors or information about common recycling misnomers, etc. The program also uses social media (Facebook, twitter and instagram) to educate and raise awareness around recycling and waste prevention.

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

SOU's Recycling Program works with one of the general education cohorts to perform 1-2 waste audits each year. Students from the Green House cohort partner with the Recycling Program to sort through trash from various parts of campus to identify what makes up the campus waste stream. The students sort the waste into 10 categories including: landfill, pre-consumer compost, post-consumer compost, compostable paper, hard plastics, soft plastics, cans/bottles, paper/cardboard, glass, and reusable items.

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

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

The Facilities Management and Planning Department works with the campus recycling program to keep as much waste out of the landfill as possible. All office furniture is collected by Surplus and reused on campus, donated to a non-profit organization, or sold, whenever possible.

Used office supplies are collected by SOU Recycling and made available to all students, staff and faculty on the Free Stuff Shelf located in the student union.

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):

The SOU Recycling program manages a Free Stuff Shelf in the student union. Although the shelf is mostly stocked with materials recovered from the campus recycling, campus users are invited to leave items for reuse on the shelf. There are also free stuff areas throughout campus where students and departments place available office supplies, books, or art supplies for individuals to reuse.

Additionally, there are several campus groups that partner each year to offer peer-to-peer exchange events, including clothing swaps and gear swaps.

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):

Free printing is not provided to students in computer labs on campus. Students pay for printing by the page. The Hannon Library charges for all printing from public workstations to encourage conservation of resources.

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:

SOU no longer prints course catalogs, course schedules, or telephone directories. All of these materials are available online.

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

SOU partners with Goodwill to divert move-out waste from the landfill through an annual move out event. Several stations are set up in each residence hall for students to drop off their unwanted reusable/recyclable items during the move-out. Volunteers work at the stations to sort items into the appropriate bins. Materials that can be resold or recycled (textiles, electronics, books, etc.) are donated to Goodwill, helping to create opportunities for local people facing hardships to receive education, training, and career services. Other recyclables and garbage are sorted at SOU's Recycling Center.

During move-in, the university provides additional dumpsters for cardboard and posts signs encouraging students and their families to recycle all cardboard.

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

Most campus buildings have one or more free tables/shelves/corners where students, staff and faculty can exchange items, including office supplies, books, art supplies, and other items that may otherwise have ended up in the landfill.

The university also collects all abandoned reusable bottles, thermoses, or mugs left around campus and gives them to the Ecology and Sustainability Resource Center (ECOS). ECOS washes all containers and makes them available to the campus community for free.

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.