The tonnage is tallied, and CU Boulder’s waste diversion rate eclipsed 50 percent for the first time in school history during the 2018 fiscal year, with the university recovering, recycling and reusing more waste than was sent to landfills.
CU Boulder’s Zero Waste Partnership released the waste diversion metrics this week, providing an analysis of campus reuse, recycling, composting and landfill statistics. CU Boulder achieved a waste diversion rate of 51.3 percent, up from 48.2 percent for the 2017 fiscal year and up from 43.7 percent just three years earlier.
The campus diverted 3,161 tons of waste from landfills through the combined efforts of stakeholders from across campus. CU Boulder, meanwhile, landfilled fewer than 3,000 tons (2,999) for the first time since reporting began in the 2001 fiscal year.
The CU Boulder diversion rate far exceeds statewide and national diversion rates.
“From our student-led Environmental Center to Housing and Dining Services to Athletics to Facilities Management, departments across our campus are leading and innovating to drive CU Boulder toward a zero-waste future,” said Ed von Bleichert, chair of the Zero Waste Partnership Board of Directors and sustainability and resiliency program manager for the Vice Chancellor’s Office of Infrastructure and Sustainability.
“There is more progress to be made, and this type of collaboration will ensure that we continue to make great strides and make a positive impact with our ultimate aim of a zero-waste campus.”
CU Boulder’s Zero Waste Partnership includes members representing a wide range of stakeholders, with the aim of ensuring that best practices are shared across campus departments and that campus reuse, recycling and composting efforts are coordinated. The partnership is guided by a board that reports to Vice Chancellor for Infrastructure and Sustainability David Kang and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Christina Gonzales.
Other key metrics released by the partnership include:
New and ongoing campus initiatives that have contributed greatly to CU Boulder’s recent waste diversion gains include:
“We’re focused on continued expansion of our composting efforts, adding more and more collection sites and working with campus partners to educate our community about things like decreasing food waste and disposing of different kinds of waste properly,” von Bleichert said. “I’m continually impressed with the passion of our campus community for contributing to these efforts.”