Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.81
Liaison Ian Johnson
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Colorado College
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.66 / 8.00 Josh Ortiz
Landscape and Grounds Supervisor
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 217 Tons 445.33 Tons
Materials composted 218 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 460 Tons 904.34 Tons
Total waste generated 895 Tons 1,349.67 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2018 June 30, 2019
Baseline Period Jan. 1, 2009 Dec. 31, 2009

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

The baseline was developed in 2009 when the college decided to start tracking for this program.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 1,714 1,539
Number of employees resident on-site 2 20
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 2,239 1,970
Full-time equivalent of employees 891 620
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 2,776.50 2,332.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 895 Tons 0.58 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):

In the waste figures reported above, has the institution recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold the following materials?:
Yes or No
Paper, plastics, glass, metals, and other recyclable containers Yes
Food Yes
Cooking oil Yes
Plant materials Yes
Animal bedding No
White goods (i.e. appliances) Yes
Electronics Yes
Laboratory equipment No
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires No
Other (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of other materials the institution has recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold:

Colorado College does an annual drop off of batteries to BlueStar Recyclers to be recycled. Year 2017-2018, 763 pounds were delivered.
(Source Denise Sheridan EH&S)

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year:
0 Tons

Does the institution use single stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:

Bestway disposable allows up to approximately 15% contamination rate to continue to effectively sort and recycle material at their recycling facility, making Colorado College's average contamination rate <15%. The college is alerted by Bestway if contamination rates rise over 15% at a pickup location and the Colorado College Grounds staff recycling coordinator works directly with the responsible college department and cleaning staff to address the contamination issue corrections immediately.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:

Every year, Colorado College participates in Recyclemania, a nation-wide effort to reduce waste. During this time, the Office of Sustainability puts on recycled craft nights, publicizes competition progress, and provides incentives (discounts, stickers, etc.) for students to reduce their waste.

In the fall of 2015, the college initiated a campus-wide recycling improvement program by installing new MAX-R waste sorting cabinets in the Worner Student Center common areas and dining halls. These sorting cabinets clearly indicate the different waste streams with mounted educational posters on headboards, and individual color-coded sorting bin labels, blue, green and black, in order to minimize accidental waste stream contamination. The cabinet bins are labeled “Single Stream Recycling", "Compost", with a smaller sized "Landfill" waste bin, in order to make people more aware that the non-recycled/non-composted waste going into landfills should be minimized. These waste sorting cabinets were a very successful pilot project, greatly increasing the waste diversion rate. They became the college recycling standard, which was phased campus-wide into all of the common areas. Campus-wide offices, classrooms, restrooms, and all other rooms were outfitted with standard colored and labeled Rubbermaid recycle containers; blue for recycle, green for compost, and black for landfill.

Colorado College has also implemented a standard interactive signage system with clip-on posters mountable on Rubbermaid bins for larger capacity rooms, and for indoor and outdoor events, to help educate larger groups of people on how to sort waste properly between the landfill, compost, and recyclables containers.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:

Colorado College routinely audits its waste stream during Recylemania, an inter-campus recycling challenge during January and March each year. Dumpsters are checked prior to pick-up by Bestway to check for plastic bags and to ensure that proper procedures are met in regards to recycling.

The Sustainability Office and EnAct (Students for Environmental Action at CC) annually conduct a campus event where one-day’s accumulation of landfill trash bags are piled vertically in a cone shape around the campus flagpole near the Worner Student Center; apply entitled Trash Peak, named after the famous nearby mountain overlooking the college; Pikes Peak. Students schedule a time where they publically sort through the trash, separating out materials into trash and recyclable materials piles, creating a compelling visual comparison of how much of the trash could have been diverted, if sorted properly.

“Trash Peak raises awareness” college Campus News & Events article: https://sites.coloradocollege.edu/atb/2010/02/08/trash-peak-raises-awareness/

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

Colorado College abides by a series of "sustainable purchasing" guidelines, which are intended to help the community align purchasing decisions with the College's mission objectives. These guidelines describe the college commitment to conserve natural resources by minimizing the consumption of non-replaceable natural resources through the review of current and proposed future usage and to minimize waste via packaging, waste produced by the product (or service), and waste generated by the eventual disposal of the product.

Colorado College Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/facilities/Colorado%20College%20Facility%20Sustainable%20Purchasing%20Guidelines,%20Rev.%2012-21-16.pdf

In addition, the Custodial Department has a "Green Cleaning Policies and Procedures" document. The document includes green cleaning best practices to purchase products in concentrated forms and in packaging, which minimizes waste.

Colorado College Facilities Services Sustainable Operations and Maintenance Guidelines Manual, Green Cleaning on Page 33: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/facilities/plan-design-ops-maint/Facilities%20Sustainable%20OM%20Guidelines%20Manual%20Rev.%20%204-6-16.pdf

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

The Business/Purchasing Office holds an annual Office Supplies Swap Event. In the interest of cost savings and sustainability, this is a way for campus departments to utilize already existing but unused supplies from other departments at no expense. Any items remaining are donated to a non-profit charity.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:

Colorado College Sustainability Office offers a Swap Space as an on campus thrift store, which allows students to donate, trade, and give their goods, ranging from books to clothing to furniture. This will support Colorado College’s commitment to sustainability by reducing consumption and encouraging reuse. The main goal of the Swap Space is to lessen the impacts of wasteful consumer culture.

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:

Colorado College adopted the campus-wide PaperCut program in summer, 2014. The program is a school-wide networked printer system where people can print to any printer on campus and must swipe their Gold Card to access their paper. In just the month of November, the program saved 38,600 pages compared to previous years. In 2015-16, the number of pages printed in the college was 5,685,995; the number of pages saved by PaperCut was 536,483 (that equates to four trees). The program also streamlines paper purchases, so all paper has at least 30 percent recycled content and the college can take advantage of bulk purchasing discounts.

Additionally, Colorado College places default printing settings on all computers, which is ensures that printing is economical and double-sided.

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

Students, staff and faculty are directed online to access the course catalog. The College prints a limited number of course catalogs for the Dean's Office. Course schedules and the College phone directory are both available online.

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

The Colorado College Student Government Association (CCSGA) holds an annual move-out collection drive at the end of 8th block. CCSGA and other student volunteers collect unwanted items from students during move-out to donate to a local nonprofit, One Nation Walking Together. One Nation Walking Together reclaims merchandise, furniture, and equipment, which would otherwise go to landfills and uses it to assist with Native American community development efforts.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:

The student post office/mailroom is located in the Worner Student Center. The college has provided MAX-R container cabinets for students to deposit and save packaging materials and boxes when they open packages they have received. There is a high amount of packages being received daily from Amazon orders. The packing materials are then available for student re-use when sending packages.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Important note:
The data reflected in this section is from July 2019 - June 2020 because Colorado College will not be participating in Campus Race to Zero Waste the past two years. The reason for this is because of the 50% increase in cost to weigh our runs, limited number of students on campus (not reflected in the data), and budgetary contractions across campus.

More links talking about the institution's waste minimization and diversion efforts:

Colorado College Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines:

Sustainable Operations & Maintenance Guidelines Manual (Chapter 9: Recycling and Waste Management):

Further information about waste at Colorado College:

The numbers for waste generated in 2009 are overinflated. Up until 2013, CC reported data by volume-to-weight conversion, instead of by true weights.

The figure for employee FTE 2009 does not include temp/on-call staff, vacant positions filled by visitors, or block visitors.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.