• Looking for ways to personally minimize waste in your lifestyle habits or routine?
  • It doesn't have to be that hard... in fact, its quite easy and can often help minimize clutter in your life!
  • Start to include the 7 Steps to Zero Waste (below) into your lifestyle habits and choose to buy recycled content products!  
  • Along with reducing your impact, you can influence zero waste practices in your community and beyond!

7 Steps to Zero Waste

Adopt a Zero Waste lifestyle! Rethink the way you live and interact with people, things and the Earth.

If you don't buy it, or use it in the first place, then you don't have to deal with it as a waste.

Using less materials from the start leads to less waste and less energy use. Reduce your waste in the first place!

Can you avoid buying a new product? Thrift, share, repurpose, adapt items to a new use, etc.

Fix or upgrade your existing objects before you throw them in the landfill. Get creative with repairs for a new life! 

It is okay to pass along a gift that doesn't serve you. It doesn't have to be a holiday to re-gift.

If all else before this step fails... Recycle all that you can to create new products, including composting your organic materials. Buy recycled content products to Close the Loop! 

What does Zero Waste mean?

Zero Waste... or Darn Near Close!

The Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) adopted the first, and only, peer-reviewed and internationally accepted definition of Zero Waste on November 29, 2004.

CU is among a growing number of schools that have adopted ZWIA definition/principles and adapted them for colleges and universities. 

The principles developed by the ZWIA recegonize that nothing can be perfect and that a mature industrial economy could not reach literal Zero Waste.  Which is why they say Zero Waste... or Darn Near Close...  and have defined Zero Waste with some of the following parameters:  

  • 90% or greater waste diverion from landfills
  • NO waste to incinerators
  • All discarded materials are resoureces
  • Resources should not be burned or buried
  • Goal is zero Air, Water, and Land emissions

Principles as they are adapted to CU and other colleges/universities:

  • Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide campuses in changing their policies and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.
  • Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.
  • Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.  
  • Campuses that achieve over 90% diversion of waste from landfills and incinerators are considered to be successful in achieving Zero Waste.
  • More background and a discussion group is available here


Guiding Principles of Zero Waste

Guiding Principles of Zero Waste

Definitions of Zero Waste Terms

Definitions of Zero Waste Terms

Zero Waste International Alliance

Zero Waste International Alliance logo

Principles of CU's Commitment to Zero Waste