Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.26
Liaison Marianne Martin
Submission Date Sept. 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Colorado Boulder
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.87 / 8.00 Rob Lenahan
Environmental Mgr IPM Rec. SW
FM Operations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 1,501.53 Tons 1,529.20 Tons
Materials composted 1,529.20 Tons 234.20 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 237 Tons 127.10 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 2,860.88 Tons 3,657 Tons
Total waste generated 6,128.61 Tons 5,547.50 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 Jan. 1, 2019 Dec. 31, 2019
Baseline Period July 1, 2005 June 30, 2006

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

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 9,390 6,582
Number of employees resident on-site 26 23
Number of other individuals resident on-site 500 500
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 33,608 26,124
Full-time equivalent of employees 9,961 5,534
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 1,774 5,503
Weighted campus users 34,200.25 21,767.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.18 Tons 0.25 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 Yes
White goods (i.e. appliances) Yes
Electronics 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, envelopes, pipette tip boxes, styrofoam

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

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:

We employ students at our on-campus recycling operations center to sort through the recyclables and remove contamination.

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

student and Staff outreach directed at improving waste diversion. Areas that show high contaimination are targetd by outreach staff

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 implemented in over 80 campus buildings.

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

CU Procurement policies encourage the purchase and use of materials, products, and services that best align with CU’s fiscal, environmental, climate change, social, community, and performance goals. Polices aim to reduce the spectrum of environmental and social impacts from the use of products, including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, reduction of landfill waste, health and safety risks, and resource consumption. Policies empower department and university purchasing staff to be innovative and demonstrate leadership by incorporating progressive and best-practice sustainability specifications, strategies and practices in procurement decisions. Vendors are encouraged to promote products and services that they offer which are most suited to CU’s sustainability goals. Both local and national companies are sought to bring forward emerging and progressive, sustainable products and services, by being a consumer of such products and companies.

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

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:

Launched BuffSurplus 2017: website helps facilitate the exchange and re-use of surplus property between campus departments.

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

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 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 25 Residence Halls and graduate family housing areas 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. We work with Salvation Army and USAgain 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 for dontation. Spare Change collection jugs are placed at the Residence Hall offices, with the proceeds going to various beneficiaries each year (. CU Recycling also provides staff to consolidate the stations each day in order to make it easy for Salvation Army and USAgain 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 program encourages sharing of materials and advertises lab equipment available for other labs via Buff Surplus platform.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

PRE 5 used data collected for fiscal year 2020 which runs July 2019 to June 2020. However this credit used data from calendar year 2019. This was selected to avoid COVID 19 impacts to data.

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.