Summary of Overall Recommendations

The report contains many additional recommendations. A summary of all recommendations is provided below.


  • Implement sustainable purchasing policy
  • Develop measures of success
  • Garner senior leadership and customer support
  • Develop change management strategies
  • Create, fund, and hire a Sustainable Procurement Program Coordinator (see description in Appendix IV: Proposed Sustainable Procurement Program Coordinator Position Draft)
  • Fund Life Cycle Analysis grad student to address evolving materials recycling challenges
    and opportunities


  • Sustainable Procurement Program Coordinator: $80,000 plus benefits
  • Life Cycle Analysis grad student position (annual): $75,000

Traditional Recycling Streams

  • Hire a Waste Reduction and Recycling Program Manager (see job description in Appendix V: Proposed Waste Reduction and Recycling Program Manager Position Draft).
  • Redesign recycling program brand (currently Mobius).
  • Update the sorting stations by reducing the number of streams from seven to six, removing miscellaneous plastics, and changing the standard infrastructure to stand-alone stations (as opposed to built-in), with signage affixed to bins, not the wall.
  • Encourage waste reduction across campus via reusable mugs, beverage cups, and other reusable food containers; also reduce single-use plastic bags.
  • Design and implement integrated organics recycling system. Evaluate procurement and
    vendor contracts for biodegradable food service items. Simplify sorting to reduce contamination. Improve organics management capabilities by investing in the Organics
    Material Processing and Education Center (OMPEC), potentially installing an in-vessel composting system or upgrading an existing anaerobic digester to contain and decompose
    biodegradable food service items as well as screen residual contaminants.
  • Review Penn State Policy AD34.
  • Conduct feasibility study to construct and operate an on-campus materials recovery facility.
  • Consider enhanced partnership with CCRRA to simplify and improve collection of traditional recyclable materials.


  • Waste Reduction and Recycling Program Manager: $80,000 plus benefits
  • Changing bins and/or signage across campus: $1,250,000
  • Reinstitute collection of materials from offices: $465,000 first cost, $216,000 – 362,000 net annual cost
  • In-vessel Composting System or Digester Upgrade: $500,000
  • On-campus MRF Feasibility Study: $150,000


  • Revise procurement standard operating procedure, which reduces onboarding of waste
  • Immediate adoption of the University’s recycling program brand redesign and roll-out of collection/separation areas
  • Develop a timeline/tactical plan for implementation of support activities


  • New signage for existing collection areas: $2,700
  • New lids for existing collection systems: $52,650
  • Upgrade of collection areas: $120,000
  • Eco-reps ongoing cost (annual): $150,000
  • Re-introduction of compost collection (annual): $113,250

Food & Beverage: Special Events/Hotel/Dining/Sports Venues

  • Collect back-of-house food items for composting at venues and events
  • Align event and venue recycling collection with overall campus program.
  • Create/revise system for staff to collect recyclable containers (e.g., plastic bottles) after all sports and special events.
  • Develop and implement standard for compostable food service items to maximize recovery as part of integrated organics recycling system.
  • Increase purchase of compostable food service items
  • Require all catered events to be “zero-waste.”
  • Sustainability improvements should be a priority when renovating Beaver Stadium.
  • Consistent principles should be developed and applied to the purchase of food and foodservice items sold at Athletics and special events
  • Rewrite contracts with branded retail dining establishments so that their operations are more aligned with Penn State sustainability goals
  • Consider options for all special events, such as Special Olympics or THON, to reduce waste footprint. This could range from mandates for compostable foodservice items to the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) providing materials collections systems at any event.
  • Work with Athletics Concessions to ensure future purchases dovetail with overall waste management goals.


  • Compostable food service items (annual estimate): $1,000,000
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling Program Manager: (previously listed)
  • New bins and signage: (previously listed)

Specialty Waste Streams

  • Minimize purchased quantities and maximize recycled/reused disposal amount without compromising regulatory compliance.
  • Ensure a sustainable best business practice is in place for the process to ensure future quantities of each unique waste stream are managed efficiently.
  • Develop purchasing specifications that ban products containing certain hazardous or regulated materials.
  • Enhance requirements and reporting for recycling of Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste.
  • Design, construct, and operationalize a chemical tissue digester to replace the University’s aging incinerator for improved management of animal mortalities.
  • Establish a new design standard that eliminates new installation of fluorescent lights and  replaces existing ones with LEDs as renovations are completed.
  • Create purchasing incentive/ban to minimize office furnishings made from particle board, and other products whose non-recyclability translate to large waste management challenges at end-of-life.
  • Identify/quantify greenhouse, farm, and other agricultural wastes that are generated on or off campus, which could be captured to augment current organic recycling practices.
  • Commission a study of Lion Surplus to look for opportunities to expand the business model and increase its impact on material reuse across the University. Michigan State’s surplus program generates more than $2 million of net income annually, paying back the facility loan and subsidizing other recycling efforts.


  • Chemical tissue digester: $800,000 to $3,500,000
  • Lion Surplus business study (MBA APEX students?): $20,000
  • Sustainable Procurement Program Coordinator: (previously listed)

Commonwealth Campuses

  • Determine the impact, if any, of changes in University Park waste management processes on Commonwealth Campuses
  • Asses the feasibility and potential value of adapting recommendations from the overall task force to the Commonwealth Campuses
  • Distribute the Education committee’s plan and materials to the campuses, as they have similar behavioral challenges as at University Park
  • In fall 2019, two pilot studies will be conducted on Green 2 Go containers at two Commonwealth Campuses, collaborating with classes to perform the research on barriers
    and program improvement.
  • Provide educational and financial resources to allow flexibility for Commonwealth Campuses to implement waste-reduction initiatives that best fit their needs.
  • Provide guidance and training opportunities to support the waste-reduction initiatives being pursued at the Commonwealth Campuses.
  • Explore the feasibility of establishing a voluntary group purchasing organization to support procurement of waste-hauling services for multiple campuses.


  • Funding for campus initiatives: $ to be determined

Education and Awareness*

  • Hire Waste Reduction and Recycling Programs Manager (see Traditional Recycling)
  • New branding campaign
  • Motivate behavior change (via behavioral science grad student position)
  • App development (either Mobile App OR Web App)


  • New branding campaign: $25,000
  • Behavioral science grad student position (annual): $75,000
  • Mobile app: $250,000 plus annual fees
  • Web app: $50,000

*The investment in Education and Awareness recommendations will only be beneficial if other recommendations regarding structural changes are implemented simultaneously and  coordinated among all units. It is critical to note that no amount of communication will be effective at changing behavior if the infrastructure is not conducive to behavior change.