Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.15
Liaison Ashley Woolman
Submission Date April 8, 2022

STARS v2.2

Western Colorado University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.76 / 8.00 Ashley Woolman
Sustainability Coordinator
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 100 Tons 98 Tons
Materials composted 2 Tons 0.10 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 1 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 315 Tons 417 Tons
Total waste generated 418 Tons 515.10 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, 2020 June 30, 2021
Baseline Period July 1, 2014 June 30, 2015

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

Waste audits were extremely rare before 2014, so the most accurate data wasn't collected until the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 1,026 942
Number of employees resident on-site 5 7
Number of other individuals resident on-site 4 4
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 2,315 2,096
Full-time equivalent of employees 350 295
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 238 223
Weighted campus users 2,082 1,867.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.20 Tons 0.28 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 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:

Paper, plastics, glass, metals, and other recyclable containers are recycled at our County Recycle Center. Food waste is donated to a local pig farm or composted on site in our industrial composter. Cooking oil is recycled with Mahoney Environmental. Plant materials are recycled in our Grounds compost area. Appliances, electronics, and laboratory equipment are recycled with CORRecycling. Furniture is recycled in our FreeCycle program or donated to the local thrift store. Residence hall move out waste is also recycled at FreeCycle and some is taken to the EcoCycle facility. Scrap metal is recycled with ReclaMetal. Pallets that are no longer usable are burned. Tires (including bike tires) are recycled at EcoCycle and Intrawest.

Western has partnered with Sustainable Crested Butte to host a Recycle Train, allowing students, faculty, and staff to recycle the more difficult to recycle items. All items are taken to the EcoCycle facility in Boulder, CO.

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year:
2 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:

Multi-stream recycling helps prevent contamination with well-labeled bins. Recycling and custodial staff sort out most contamination before materials are sent to the Gunnison recycling center, which further sorts out any leftover contamination. Waste audits are conducted regularly to help monitor contamination.

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

Previous President signed a commitment to zero waste in 2017.
Signs are located above outdoor recycling areas which have educational materials displayed.
Annual participation in the Race to Zero Waste competition and Western holds a dorm recycling competition.
Recycling/Zero Waste training given to RD and RA staff.
Recycling/Zero Waste training given to custodial and facilities staff.
FreeCycle (free campus thrift store) is open multiple days a week and advertised throughout campus.
Recycling/Zero Waste booth at annual Wellness Festival
LEAD student sustainability coordinators conduct various zero waste outreach efforts.

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

Extensive record keeping is done during the Race to 0 Waste, including the amount of waste and recycling at each academic building/dormitory.
Full dumpsters audits were difficult to conduct given Covid-19 precaucions but the last full audit was completed in May 2019. During this audit, 100% of campus dumpsters were surveyed, weighed, and measured. The Sustainability SPecialist and Recycling Team are continually assessing the campus recycling efforts and look for areas to improve it.

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

We have a green purchasing policy. This has led to the purchase of microfiber rags rather than paper towels for cleaning and the purchase of 100% recycled paper. We purchase in bulk whenever possible and try to purchase environmentally preferable products.

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

We have a message board for exchanging and reusing office supplies. Items that are left unused for extended periods of time are taken to FreeCycle.

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

We have a campus re-use store called FreeCycle for exchange of clothes, items, etc.

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

All student use printers were changed to double sided printing and students are only allowed to print 600 pages for free.

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

Course catalogs, schedules, and directories are all available online on Western's website.

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

We set up FreeCycle dropoff locations so that students can leave stuff for others to claim and reuse. We also have a program called "Move out while you groove out" which teaches students about FreeCycle and where they can go to drop off or pick up used items. LEAD student sustainability coordinators do education and outreach leading up to move-out.

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

We recycle various materials through our comprehensive recycling program.

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

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.