- By Joel Cruz
Zeroing In on Zero Waste at Auraria
We hear you Auraria! In our recent survey, you informed us that waste diversion efforts must become a priority for a more sustainable campus. As a result, The Auraria Sustainable Campus Program has been collaborating with stakeholders across the campus on how to enhance the current waste system. Since last Fall we have conducted multiple waste audits in which we sorted through landfill, recycling, and compost bins as well as the waste produced back of house from vendors on campus. As a result from our audits, we have found that (on average) 53% of the waste produced on campus can be composted, however, it is instead put in the landfill. It is time to change that.
We are proud to announce the rolling out of the Zero-Waste Pilot program this Spring in which we will replace individual landfill and recycle receptacles with a single Zero-Waste stations that includes streams for Compost, Recycle, and Landfill. Pilot locations will include the 2nd floor break room in West Classroom and the Library Cafe. The staff at Sonos, iPie, Library Cafe and Simply Fresh (North Classroom) are also participating in the pilot with their back-of-house waste and food prep scraps. If the pilot is successful (aka if we measure increases in proper waste sorting/waste diversion and custodial operations are able to adapt to the changes), we will expand this three-bin infrastructure to other parts of campus.
In addition to new bins, we will also be replacing and updating waste sorting signage and guidelines to make the waste stations more user friendly. We will be placing table tents on tables in food vendor areas educating customers on how to sort waste properly among the three streams and will publish a very detailed Zero Waste Brochure to store on our website and to distribute to students so that they can improve and exhibit their Zero-Waste skills on and off campus.
Finally, and very importantly, volunteer Eco Reps will work together with the ASCP to stand beside bins and help students sort their waste correctly—that way everyone can have a hands-on learning experience. We need your help! We are currently in need of more volunteers to provide this waste education and conduct waste audits. If you're interested in making Auraria a zero-waste campus, please sign up here to attend a brief training.
As part of the ASCP’s vision of “thinking globally and acting locally” it is our duty to empower and unite the students of Auraria campus through sustainability. Come be a part of the movement!