Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.41
Liaison Marianne Martin
Submission Date March 23, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Colorado Boulder
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.31 / 8.00 Carl Pierce
Recycling and Solid Waste Manager
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 1,384.10 Tons 1,529.20 Tons
Materials composted 1,106.20 Tons 234.20 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 212.70 Tons 127.10 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 3,165 Tons 3,657 Tons
Total waste generated 5,868 Tons 5,547.50 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:

We employ students at our on-campus intermediate processing facility to sort through the recyclables and remove contamination.

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2015 June 30, 2016
Baseline Year July 1, 2005 June 30, 2006

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted (e.g. in sustainability plans and policies or in the context of other reporting obligations):

Established in 1976, CU Recycling has become one of the leading campus recycling programs in the country. Starting on the backs of students, CU Recycling has grown to become integral to the campus operations. From residence halls, administrative buildings and lecture halls to zero waste events on campus, recycling and composting bins can be seen all over campus. CU’s efforts in recycling have gained attention from the National Recycling Coalition, who recognized us with its first "Outstanding School Program" award in 1995.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 6,014 6,451
Number of employees resident on-site 15 11
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 26,124 25,978
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 6,212 5,534
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 1,450 5,503
Weighted campus users 24,671.75 21,122.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.24 Tons 0.26 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
Laboratory equipment Yes
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires Yes
Other (please specify below) Yes

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

Toner cartridges, LDPE films, transparencies, campus inter-department envelopes, video tapes

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) :

Does the institution use single stream recycling (a single container for commingled recyclables) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream (two separate containers for recyclables, e.g. one for paper and another for plastic, glass, and metals) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling (multiple containers that further separate different types of materials) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program (percentage, 0-100):

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed, e.g. efforts to minimize contamination and/or monitor the discard rates of the materials recovery facilities and mills to which materials are diverted:

We employ students at our on-campus intermediate processing facility to sort through the recyclables and remove contamination.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives, e.g. initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices such as signage and competitions:

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

Waste audit conducted in 2013: LDPE film collection pilot (dry films); restroom composting (paper towels) implemented in over 12 campus buildings (adding 5 buildings each year).

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste (e.g. by minimizing packaging and purchasing in bulk):


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

Launched BuffSurplus 2017: website helps facilitate the exchange and re-use of surplus property between campus departments. The Facilities Management Property Services holds several public auctions a year for office. furniture, electronics, and other surplus property. Surplus items are sold for re-use.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse (e.g. of electronics, furnishings, books and other goods):

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption (e.g. restricting free printing and/or mandating doubled-sided printing in libraries and computer labs):

The Campus Printing Initiative (CPI) is a campus-wide initiative implemented in response to increasing waste/environmental concerns and escalating costs that will require all people printing in campus labs and CPI departments to pay a per-page fee.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials (e.g. course catalogs, course schedules, and directories) available online by default rather than printing them:

All course catalogs, course schedules, and directories are available online only.

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

As students move out of the Residence Halls on the CU Boulder campus, they leave behind many usable items they do not wish to carry with them to their next homes. To prevent these "Reusable Items" from entering the landfill and to put them back to use, CU Recycling holds a "Reusable Items Drive" in all 23+ Residence Halls during student Move Out. A donation station is set up in the lobby of each residence hall that includes bins for Reusable Items, Non Perishable Foods, and Personal Care Products. In 2010, we worked with Salvation Army to collect the materials from the Halls and distribute them through their thrift stores. The Personal Care Products and Non Perishable Foods are collected by CU Recycling and taken to the Boulder County Homeless Shelter. Cinder blocks and futon frames are captured to be either reused or recycled with scrap metal or scrap wood. Spare Change collection jugs are placed at the Residence Hall offices, with the proceeds going to various beneficiaries each year (Globe Med was the 2010 beneficiary). CU Recycling also provides staff to consolidate the stations each day in order to make it easy for Salvation Army to collect all the Reusable Items. The "Reusable Items Donation Stations" are set up for 2 weeks and are taken down on the last day of finals.

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

Green Labs

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Approximately 65% of the tons reported for diversion programs (recycle, re-use, compost) come from certified weights. The other 35% is volume to weight conversion using standard EPA conversion factors.


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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.