When over 6,000 students arrive at Farrand Field each year to enjoy a picnic lunch of food from around the globe, they find no trashcans for their waste. That's because the Global Jam picnic is a Zero Waste Event and only serves compostable and recyclable materials, so nothing needs to be thrown into the landfill. The goal of zero-waste is to divert at least 90% of all waste from the landfill through composting, recycling, and reuse.
Each year at Global Jam, more than 80% of the waste is diverted from the landfill, with over 4,000 pounds of compost collected, over 500 pounds of cans and bottles, and 200 pounds of cardboard.
The zero waste efforts at Global Jam are a collaboration between the Department of Housing and Dining Services and the Environmental Center. We hope Global Jam will continue to set the trend for many more zero waste events on campus in the future.
Since 1999, CU Recycling has been providing recycling services for BolderBOULDER, which is one of the largest 10k road races in the world. The race attracts more than 50,000 runners and walkers and draws professional athletes from around the globe.
At the end of every August, 6000 new students arrive to the CU residence halls. Along with these eager, bright eyed first year students comes lots of cardboard and styrofoam that can be recycled.
On average, over 10 tons of cardboard and over 60 yards of styrofoam will be diverted from the landfills by CU Recycling, using Recycling Ambassadors at the dock of each residence hall!
As students move out of the residence halls on campus, they often leave behind any unwanted items. Most of the time, these items are highly usable and deserve another life.
On average, 15-20 tons of clothes, bedding, small electronics, and other items are collected in the Halls during move out through the Resuable Items Donation Drive. This diverts these items to local thrift stores and charitable organizations, giving them another life.
The Move Out Report for 2014 can be found here
To welcome in the new students, and welcome back the returning students, Program Council holds a concert on Farrand Field just before the first classes start in the fall.
CU Recycling is there to provide amply recycling opportunities for all the music fans. So please make sure to "Put your waste in the right place" at your next concert!
The Buffalo Bicycle Classic is a cycling fundraiser held in Boulder, drawing over 2,000 cyclists. It is sponsered by Elevations Credit Union, and raises scholarship money for promising students in CU-Boulder’s College of Arts and Sciences. Every year, CU Recycling works to make this a zero-waste event. Trained volunteers cover the multiple Zero Waste Stations along the course, helping to ensure that all utensils, plates, bowls, cups and bottles get recycled or composted correctly.
I Scream for Recycling is an event put on by CU Recycling to promote the "reduce, reuse, recycle" lifestyle within the student body. Pledge boards are set up on campus, and students are encouraged to come over and sign pledges such as "I pledge to print only when needed", "I pledge to bring my own bag", and "I pledge to get it 'for here' instead of taking it 'to go'". Then, the students are given a megaphone, and shout a recycling slogan such as "Go Now and Recycle, do it for the children!" Free ice cream is given to everyone who does these steps, provided by Boulder Ice Cream. Those who don't wish to "scream" can "share" instead, via social media.
Scrape Your Plate Day is put on biannually by CU Recycling in the CU dining halls. Volunteers stand by compost bins by the tray collectors and ask students who are finished dining to scrape their leftovers into the bins. This allows us to measure the amount of food waste generated by students every meal, as well as creating awareness in students about their own eating habits and whether or not they are "green". in Spring 2015, the average amount of food waste per person was 0.27 lbs. We have much improved since past years, such as 2010 when the average was 0.42 lbs, but we are still looking to get this number as close to zero as possible.
America Recycles Day is on November 15th every year. Here at CU, we celebrate by setting up tables and banners on campus and hosting a giveaway of sustainable items. We give a quiz or survey to students, and in exchange they receive free items such as reusable bags, bottles, mugs, to-go containers and more! We also give out free office supplies to be reused. Mark it on your calendar!
Each year, CU Recycling does a Waste Composition Study for the residence halls. Single stream recycling is collected from each residence hall, and then sorted to determine what was recycled correctly and what was not. Then, levels of contamination by weight and volume is determined, as well as the weight and volume of specific types of materials (aluminum, plastic, cardboard, glass, etc). In 2013, we found that 84% (by weight) of the total waste placed in residence halls recycling bins was in fact recyclable, while 16% was actually contamination. There were 229 pounds of containers recycled, 97 pounds of papers, and 35 pounds of cardboard. In coming years, we hope to get the percentage of contamination down to zero!