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 2021 Waste Diversion Metrics - 10/7/2021

CU-Boulder’s Recycling Partnership has concluded its analysis of CU-Boulder’s solid waste management activity for fiscal year 2020-2021. This report contains the campus waste diversion percentages based on EPA guidelines for municipal solid waste (MSW) diversion factors. 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 in this summary report. Additional information is available on request.

The campus was once again impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The had significant impacts on waste operations across campus. Overall collection volumes were down almost 26% for all materials, and significantly reduced the amount of material processed via the campus Recycling Operations Center.

The Partnership consists of employees in Facilities Management (FM) , Housing Facilities Services, and CU’s Student Government. 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.

Solid waste management data has been compiled and analyzed by FM Environmental Services assistant director and staff. Methodology for this analysis is consistent with national recording and reporting definitions. The analysis includes weight-based records from certified scales for approximately 83.4% 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).

Some of the findings include:

  • A 45.59% diversion rate, which is a 5.06% decrease over FY20. By comparison, the state of Colorado municipal solid waste diversion rate in 2019 was only 15.9%. The City of Boulder’s reported diversion rates for 2020 was 53%. Nationally, 35.2% was diverted from landfills in 2017.
  • A 25.88% decrease in overall campus generation (1268 tons)
    • A 18.31% decrease in landfilling (443 tons)
    • A 33.26% decrease in materials diverted (825 tons)
  • FY19 to FY21 differences in tons:
    • A 37.85% decrease in total generation (2211 tons)
  • Nearly all material streams decreased in FY21: 
    • Food service compost: 59% less
  • ROC Materials: 46%less
  • Automated collections: 39% less


Campus Waste Diversion History

Waste Diversion and Campus Population

Landfill and Diversion Summary Table

Recovered Tons an Percentage of Volume

Recycling tonnage breakout graph