Recycling Operations Center
Grounds and Recycling Operations Center
Students sorting recycling on the containers line
Student sorting on both sorting lines
Fac Man recycling crew unloading materials
Fac Man crews emptying recycling
Recycling Operations Center dock
Eco Rep student staff
Students sorting compost at a football game
Students sorting at a waste composition study

Release of Fiscal Year 2019 Waste Diversion Metrics - 11/25/2019

CU Boulder’s Recycling Partnership has concluded its analysis of CU Boulder’s solid waste management activity for fiscal year (FY) 2019. The analysis includes reuse, recycling, composting, and landfill statistics. Performance measures, such as the rate diverted from landfills as well as the environmental benefits of the program, have also been calculated. Several of the summary tables and charts are included with additional supporting information available on request.

The partnership consists of employees in Facilities Management, Housing Facilities Services, and CU’s Environmental Center. The partnership is guided by a board of directors who reports to the vice chancellor for infrastructure & sustainability and the vice chancellor for student affairs. Results of this analysis will continue to guide continuous improvement as well as update annual reports and publications.

Data has been compiled and analyzed by the Facilities Management Environmental Services assistant director and staff. In preparation for the FY20 metrics report, the Recycling Partnership will be working with all agencies that use subjective weights (i.e. determining a reference weight or count for one item or day to determine weights for all like items for the year) to update material baseline weights and counts.

Methodology for this analysis is consistent with national recording and reporting definitions. The analysis includes weight-based records from certified scales for approximately 90% of all materials reported here.

EPA approved conversion factors were used for several materials where scale-based weights were not possible (i.e. motor oil, fryer grease, furniture). Percentages of steel, aluminum, glass, and plastic were documented in a 2013 senior honors thesis and applied to CU’s commingled container stream (since they are not separated and weighed prior to shipping).

Some of the findings include:

• A 51.18% diversion rate.

  • By comparison:
    • State of Colorado diversion rate in 2018 was 17.2%.
    • City of Boulder’s reported diversion rates for 2018 was 57%.
    • Nationally, 35.2% was diverted from landfills in 2017.

• A 4.48% decrease in landfilling (146 tons). In the past 5 years, university trash generation has decreased 425 tons.

• A 5.15% decrease (171 tons) in materials diverted.

Other items of note:

  • Academic Compost 5 Year Increase: 171 tons - 250%
  • Vivarium Compost: 37.85 tons—up from 6.72 – 563%!
  • Distribution Center Increases:
    • Electronics Sold: Up 5.58 tons – 28.5% increase
    • Electronics Recycled: Up 5.20 tons – 22.2% increase
    • Surplus Property Sold: Up 62.45 tons – 63.3% increase
    • Pallets Sold: Up 11.09 tons – 51.13%
    • E-CenterBikesRecycling/Soldup1.52tons/21.71%

CU Campus Waste Diversion Graph

Waste Diversion History Graph

LANDFILL and DIVERSION Summary Table





Year

Tons Diverted

Tons Landfilled

Tons of Total Waste

(Diverted + Landfill)

Diversion Rate

FY01

1,293

3,578

4,871

26.54%

FY02

1,480

3,826

5,307

27.90%

FY03

1,465

3,812

5,277

27.77%

FY04

1,453

3,857

5,310

27.36%

FY05

1,658

3,810

5,468

30.32%

FY06

1,892

3,657

5,549

34.09%

FY07

1,877

3,676

5,552

33.80%

FY08

1,937

3,443

5,380

35.99%

FY09

2,154

3,535

5,689

37.86%

FY10

2,022

3,363

5,385

37.55%

FY11

2,198

3,017

5,215

42.15%

FY12

2,318

3,206

5,524

41.97%

FY13

2,458

3,164

5,622

43.72%

FY14

2,358

3,165

5,523

42.69%

FY15

2,541

3,278

5,820

43.67%

FY16

2,754

3,332

6,086

45.25%

FY17

2,958

3,176

6,134

48.22%

FY18

3,161

2,999

6,161

51.32%

FY19

2,990

2,853

5,841

51.18%