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Waste Stream Characterization Study Phase 1 (Completed)

Recent Project Updates

  • 4/2/2015

    Dear iCAP Working Group Members,

    As a reminder, we will be meeting this Thursday at 1:30 (and also next Thursday, 4/9, at 1:30).

  • 11/16/2014

    Final Waste Stream Characterization Study of Swanlund Administration Building, Henry Administration Building, the Illini Union Bookstore, and the Alice Campbell Alumni Center.

Key Objective

Associated Collections


F&S has requested a proposal from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) to get waste stream audits for select buildings across campus.  The program will repeat the efforts completed by ISTC at their building, on a larger scale.  This project could eventually extend to cover all campus facilities, or it could be done at select locations on a recurring basis to measure progress.


  • What is a waste stream characterization study?  A formal methodology for analyzing, sorting, and categorizing disposed materials into identifiable categories with the intention of creating a baseline dataset to improve future waste stream reduction and diversion activities.
  • Why is it necessary to perform a waste stream characterization study? A waste stream characterization study will afford the facility the ability to know their waste by providing weights and volumes for their outflow material streams. The initial study will create a baseline measurement for waste diversion activities which will serve as a map of the material disposal systems in the facility. This study will also provide accurate and precise data to identify where waste reduction and diversion activities will have the greatest impacts. Without performing a waste stream characterization study the facility has no way to know exactly what is in their waste, and at what levels.
  • Can you give real world example of why a waste stream characterization is important. During the initial waste stream characterization study at ISTC the team found that there were multiple 1/3 full rolls of toilet paper being thrown into the trash. When the building services worker was interviewed it was found that two of the bathrooms had capacity for three rolls at a time, but were only utilizing a single roll holder. This problem was easily remedied by installing two more roll holders into the three roll capacity dispenser. This problem would have gone unnoticed if the team hadn’t performed a waste stream characterization study.
  • What is Zero Waste. “Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient, and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.  Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.  Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.” - Zero Waste International Alliance

No description has been provided yet.

Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Morgan Johnston

    Project Leader:

    Luis Rodriguez

    Team Members:

    • Seth Rients
    • Jack Dempsey
    • Bart Bartels
    • Shantanu Pai
    • Tracy Osby


  • Proposed May 1, 2013
    Proposed by Seth Rients
    Approved June 1, 2013
    Approved by Jack Dempsey
    Completed September 15, 2014
    Completed by Shantanu Pai


Project Location(s)

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