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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 45.25
Liaison David Tedder
Submission Date Oct. 16, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Kentucky
OP-22: Waste Minimization

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.46 / 5.00 Mari Long
Recycling Coordinator
PPD Campus Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Waste generated::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 2,849 Tons 2,636 Tons
Materials composted 142.50 Tons 142 Tons
Materials reused, donated or re-sold 1 Tons 1 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 8,492 Tons 8,500 Tons

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 6,547 6,225
Number of residential employees 59 57
Number of in-patient hospital beds 825 823
Full-time equivalent enrollment 26,555 25,919
Full-time equivalent of employees 12,430 12,343
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 1,769 1,750

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2014 Dec. 31, 2014
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2013 Dec. 31, 2013

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:

UK made significant changes in the fall of 2013 moving to a single stream programming implementation. From August 15 - Dec 23, UK generated 110 tons of single stream. In 2014, the first full year of implementation, UK generated 555 tons. The building of the infrastructure of the programming continues and additional improvements are being made in 2015.


A brief description of any (non-food) waste audits employed by the institution:

We are working with UK Healthcare to determine the current waste via audits and to implement a wide sweeping recycling program for the UK Healthcare system that includes several hospitals and clinics. In 2013, each campus building was audited to determine size and location of the recycling containers. The custodians began taking the material to front load dumpsters and we established a dedicated route for the recycling to go direct to the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Recycling Center. A rebate is received for the material.


A brief description of any institutional procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

N/A - Not certain of the policies in this area.


A brief description of any surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

UK has a comprehensive surplus property program that allows departments and units to reuse all types of materials. There are also 6 public auctions each year. In 2015, we began experimenting with online auctions and have a SWAP (departments posting online and other departments claiming without having to truck into the surplus warehouse) in progress that should be live this fall.


A brief description of the institution's efforts to make materials available online by default rather than printing them:

Beginning in 2006 the University stopped printing course catalogs, schedules and directories and moved to online access only. We also have moved to a mandatory paperless payroll program.


A brief description of any limits on paper and ink consumption employed by the institution:

All of the printers and copiers operated by our libraries and our UKIT Student Computer Labs are set up to charge per page. We do not offer free student printing on campus.


A brief description of any programs employed by the institution to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

The Office of Sustainability sponsors a donation drive to collect clothing, toiletries, school supplies, electronics, and furniture during the two weeks prior to move-out. These materials are donated to the Hope Center, a local non-profit organization.


A brief description of any other (non-food) waste minimization strategies employed by the institution:

For the last two years we have tried a Near Zero Waste strategy at some of our student events. This year, the food was served on Frisbees to avoid the waste of plates. We have made the students take personal responsibility in moving their trash and recycling to compactors versus having a housekeeping staff do it for them.


A brief description of any food waste audits employed by the institution:

Weigh the waste events have been conducted to determine the amount of post-consumer wastes being generated in our residential dining facilities.


A brief description of any programs and/or practices to track and reduce pre-consumer food waste in the form of kitchen food waste, prep waste and spoilage:

We are currently tracking our back-of-house wastes to establish a baseline of generated wastes. We provide instruction and training to our employees on proper forecasting, purchasing, storage, processing and production to keep unnecessary food waste to a minimum. Inventories are conducted weekly to determine what products are in-house and need to be used before expiration dates occur.


A brief description of programs and/or practices to track and reduce post-consumer food waste:

In all dining facilities trays have been removed with exceptions made for certain franchise requirements as well as ADA compliance.
Weigh the waste events have been conducted to determine the amount of post-consumer wastes being generated in our residential dining facilities. Proper portioning is also emphasized in our employee training. Educational and promotional materials for the campus community are being developed on how individuals can reduce their own personal food wastes.


A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable and/or third party certified compostable to-go containers for to-go food and beverage items (in conjunction with a composting program):

Reusable to-go containers have just been implemented in our 2 residential dining halls. Accompanying this initiative, articles and promotional materials have been published, which inform the campus community that this is a step towards reducing Styrofoam waste on campus, along with the reasons Styrofoam is undesirable.


A brief description of the institution's provision of reusable service ware for “dine in” meals and reusable and/or third party certified compostable service ware for to-go meals (in conjunction with a composting program):

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 21, 2015) — This fall, University of Kentucky Dining is making the move to a greener, more environmentally friendly alternative by eliminating all styrofoam from the residential dining halls.
The first step in this process is implementing a reusable to-go container program for Blazer Cafe and The Fresh Food Company. There will be a $5 initial fee for the reusable to-go box, however you will be able to exchange the container for the next two years.
How to Purchase and Use Your Container
1. You may purchase your resusable containter with Flex dollars, credit card or cash. The purchase will be connected to your UK account, so please have your Wildcat ID with you.
2. Your reusable to-go container can only be used at The Fresh Food Company and Blazer Cafe.
3. When you want to purchase a to-go meal, take your reusable container and your Wildcat ID with you to the cash register.
4. Present your container to be filled with your order.
5. The next time you would like to purchase a meal to-go, please bring your rinsed, reusable to-go container to the cashier to exchange for a clean container
Note: You do not have to clean the container. UK Dining will handle the washing of all containers to ensure proper sanitation, but please discard any leftovers before returning.
Why UK Dining is Doing This
While styrofoam may be a more inexpensive, lighter alternative, it is not good for the environment. UK Dining hopes the entire campus community works together to effect positive change.


A brief description of any discounts offered to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in to-go food service operations:

$.25 discount is offered per drink is available for those at campus Starbuck's who bring their refillable mug.


A brief description of other dining services waste minimization programs and initiatives:

Tray less Dining: By dining tray less, you have helped positively impact the waste stream. Dining trayless minimizes food waste, conserves energy and water, and reduces the amount of cleaning chemicals entering the waste stream.
Fryer Oil Recycling: Our dining services recycle our unwanted fryer oil.
Recycled Content Paper: We use recycled content office and copy paper in all dining locations on campus and in most offices.
Recycling: UK Dining recycles cardboard, bottles, and aluminum and steel cans from dining locations across campus. We are committed to minimizing our environmental footprint. Look for signs in our locations for information on where to put your recyclables.
Local Purchasing: Did you know UK Dining sources food from many local farmers, growers and distributors? Kentucky Proud, the state’s program to encourage purchases of local food, is near and dear to our hearts as a land grand university. The list changes throughout the year depending on seasonality and availability.


The website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization initiatives is available:

Distance education numbers for baseline year are estimated based on lack of data.

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.