What’s in CSUN’s Waste Stream?

CSUN students perform a waste audit as part of a Sustainability 310 course.

Having access to data is a critical part of any zero waste goal, as it provides valuable insight into waste stream compositions helps measure the impacts of problem-solving strategies. Obtaining data about trash, food waste and recycling is both a time- and labor-intensive process. Garbage trucks must be equipped with onboard scales, and calibrated with the weight of each dumpster to determine the weight of the waste inside. CSUN was able to achieve these steps in 2015 through a new campus waste hauling contract, causing CSUN’s hauler to collect weight data on each dumpster lifted by the company’s trucks. Since then, CSUN’s waste data has been available in an online dashboard. However, new functionality within CSUN’s Energy Information System (EIS) has enabled the creation of a new interactive waste data dashboard, which allows viewers to explore more data in more detail than ever before.

Since beginning a new waste hauling contract in August of 2019, CSUN now receives weight data for trash, recycling and food waste in a monthly report. This data is uploaded to CSUN’s EIS, where it can be used to create reports, identify trends and create data visualizations. Data is also provided from a variety of other on-campus groups that handle material disposal. Associated Students Sustainability, the Food Recovery Network, The University Corporation, and Asset Management all share data on the items they collect, donate, sell, or dispose of to create a complete picture of waste reduction, diversion and disposal on campus.

               Using CSUN’s new waste dashboard, viewers can sort through historical data going back to 2015, and view reports for customized time periods and material types. Have you ever wondered what percentage of CSUN’s waste goes to the landfill? Or maybe how much leftover food the campus donates to those in need? The campus’ new waste dashboard makes it easier than ever before to access this information and more!

Some highlights include:

  1. Diversion Summary: See how many tons of material were landfilled, recycled, reused and composted by year
  2. Waste insights: Learn more about how zero waste progress is measured, as well the definitions of common terms such as “inert materials” and “municipal solid waste”.
  3. Total diversion by material: Learn what materials comprise CSUN’s different waste streams, as well as their percentage of the total.
  4. Waste breakdown by entity: See how the main campus, Student Housing, The University Corporation, University Student Union and Associated Students compare with one another.
  5. Environmental Benefits: Learn about the positive impacts of CSUN’s zero waste activities.

Improving access to data invites campus users to learn more about CSUN’s waste stream, and take action and help the campus move towards its zero waste goal. There are dozens, if not hundreds of ways for individuals and campus entities to reduce their waste. You can explore CSUN’s updated waste data here: https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiZWY3NDkzZWItZmJhOC00YzYwLWI0ZWQtODQ4MDQ1ZjEwYWViIiwidCI6IjdmZjE1NTIyLTYwOTYtNDdkYy04OWJmLTM4OWJiZTEzY2Q2OCIsImMiOjZ9.

What will you discover?

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