OP 18: Waste Minimization & Diversion – version 2.2
Frequently Asked Questions
How has this credit changed between STARS 2.1 and 2.2?
Minor edits have been made to this credit. Language has been added to allow each institution to either include or exclude electronic waste. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the 2.2 Summary of changes.
What is post-recycling residual conversion?
If post-recycling residual conversion amounts are entered, institutions are required to include a valid response under “A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials”. Single stream recycling is not the same as post-recycling residual conversion.
Do items reused on campus count toward our diversion rate in Part 1?
You will not enter in the weights for anything reused on campus in Part 1 or Part 2. If you reuse items on campus rather than sending them to the landfill, it is assumed that this is already included in the weights entered into Part 1 and 2 under “Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator;” because these items would have been sent to the landfill had you not reused them. Items that have been reused on campus would instead be entered under the optional field: Active Recovery and Reuse – “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).
Should construction and demolition waste be counted toward our diversion rate in this credit?
Waste includes all materials that the institution discards, intends to discard or is required to discard (i.e., all materials that are recycled, composted, donated, re-sold, or disposed of as trash) except construction, demolition, electronic, hazardous, special (e.g., coal ash), universal and non-regulated chemical waste, which are covered in the Construction and Demolition Waste Diversion and Hazardous Waste Management credits.
Are there there other credits that ask for the same information?
Weighted campus user (WCU) figures should be consistent across PRE 5, OP 1, OP 18, OP 21, unless there is a valid discrepancy. See related Help Center article on sharing information between credits.
Resources, Templates & Tools
- Volume-to-Waste Conversion Factors – US EPA
- RecycleMania volume-to-weight conversion factors
- CalRecycle conversion factors
- Sustainable Materials Management – US EPA
- Food Recovery Challenge – US EPA
- GameDay Measuring And Reporting – Campus Race to Zero Waste
- Barnard College – Reporting the same weights and year for baseline and performance year, and clarifies this in the descriptive field. Good example for first-time submitting institutions that may not have historical waste records.
- Central Community College – Reporting the same weights and year for baseline and performance year. Good example for first-time submitting institutions that may not have historical waste records.
- Elon University – Great example of an institution justifying a data discrepancy between credits in the Notes field
- Lewis & Clark College – Uploaded an Excel spreadsheet with a full-year, detailed inventory of categories of recycled materials.
- Northern Arizona University – Detailed documentation on the different initiatives/programs implemented to promote waste minimization/diversion.
- Virginia Tech – Uploaded a report showing calculations for the institution’s recycling rate, waste diversion rate, and an inventory of items that were recycled, all covering a full year.
Common Issues Identified During Review
- Score outlier: Earning full points or close to it is unlikely. If high scores are reported, check for issues below. Exemplary performance should be clarified in descriptive fields.
- Comparative outlier: Large differences in the table for “Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted)” between Performance Year and Baseline Year should be checked for data outliers. Any outliers should be clarified in the Notes field.
- Numeric outlier: Zero (or very low amounts) reported for responses under the table for Total Waste Generated (particularly for recycling, composting and disposal in landfill/incinerator). If figures are unknown, conservative estimates should be provided, a different performance or baseline year selected, or the credit should be updated to Not Pursuing.
- Numeric outlier: Part 3, Waste Diversion – High amount (e.g., 90% or above) for “Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year” may indicate data entry error. Check closely for issues below. Exemplary performance should be clarified in descriptive field.
- Data consistency: Weighted campus user (WCU) figures should be consistenty across PRE 5 and OP 18 if the same Performance Year is used. Valid discrepancies should be clarified in the Notes field.