top of page


Help the ASCP divert compost and recycling from entering the landfill by using this sorting guide!


In a Fall 2018 waste audit, the ASCP discovered that, on average, 53% of the material in our surveyed landfill bins is compostable. We also know that plastics, which often end up in our campus landfill bins, never really decompose, but just fracture into smaller and smaller pieces to be ingested by wildlife and, eventually, humans.


Note: The Auraria campus is serviced by Alpine Waste. All waste haulers and processors accept different materials and offer different collection guidelines. This guide reflects Alpine’s guidelines and may differ from the waste hauler servicing your house/apartment.



Where does it go? Compost is organic matter that can be decomposed to create fertile soil. Auraria’s compost decomposes at a large industrial-scale site by the airport and is sold to farmers.


How to? You cannot compost any plastic or items with chemical residue on them. Items you should compost include:

  • ALL food items, including

    • Produce (remove the sticker!)

    • cooked and raw meat & dairy products

    • bones, fish, eggshells

  • Soiled wooden and paper items:

    • Napkins and greasy paper bags

    • Greasy pizza boxes (if clean, recycle!)

    • Chopsticks, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, wooden stir sticks

  • Food packaging and soiled paper products that are made of paper fibers, plants, corn, and SOME #7 PLA (MUST say PLA)

    • Compostable to-go containers and utensils

    • Compostable cups (look for “BPI Certified”)

    • sandwich/burger etc. wrappers

    • sugar packets

  • Tea bags and coffee filters

  • Plants and flowers



Where does it go? Recycled items are reconstructed into new bottles, cans or paper. Auraria Campus supports single stream recycling, meaning paper, plastic, metal and glass are all recycled in one bin.


How to? You cannot recycle Styrofoam, shrink wrap, or anything smaller than a business card (ie: creamer cups). Items must be CLEAN or our waste hauler will send them to the landfill. Be sure to wipe off leftover food residue with a napkin and throw the soiled napkin in the compost bin. Items you should recycle include:

  • All types of paper, including:

    • printer paper
      Note: shredded paper needs to be composted or recycled with special instructions. See below. 

    • newspaper

    • magazine

    • Cardboard - must be flattened

  • Rigid plastic containers

  • Plastic jugs and bottles marked #1 through #6
    Note: include the plastic bottle cap on top, it can be recycled too!
    TIP: wipe out the containers with a paper napkin and compost the napkin!

  • Plastic lined paper cups, including:

    • soda cups

    • coffee cups
      Note: plastic cup lids are not recyclable

  • Aluminum cans - dont crush them!

  • Cardboard cartons - milk, juice, etc.

  • Glass bottles - remove the cap



Where does it go? Landfill waste is piled into cells, layered with dirt, and left to sit—largely unchanged—forever. Over time, landfills produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas.  


How to? Do your part to help keep compostable and recyclable items out of landfills. Items that should be put in the landfill bin:

  • Single-use plastics including:

    • plastic utensils, plates, stir sticks, straws

    • condiment packets

    • creamer containers

    • plastic wrappers (chips, candy, bars)

    • plastic straws

  • Plastic clamshell containers

  • Styrofoam cups and containers

  • Anything seriously contaminated with food residue

  • Anything smaller than a business card

  • Shrink-wrap

  • Plastic bags (but you CAN recycle them at grocery stores!)

Hard to Recycle Items

Happy to help you dispose of your hard to recycle materials through our four programs below!!


In efforts to make recycling of hard items more accessible, the Auraria Sustainable Campus Program has four hard to recycle programs!! Each one allows for greater waste diversion on the Auraria Campus and helps close the loop on commonly discarded products. As of December 13, 2022, we've diverted:

77,572 lbs

Accepted Items
Not Accepted Items
  • All brands and packaging

  • Shampoo and conditioner bottles and caps

  • Hair gel tubes and caps

  • Hair spray bottles and triggers

  • Hair paste plastic jars and caps

  • Lip balm tubes

  • Face soap dispensers and tubes

  • Lotion bottles, tubes, dispensers, and jars

  • Shaving foam tubes (no cans)

  • Lip gloss and mascara tubes

  • Eye liner pencils and cases

  • Eye shadow and tubes

  • Concealer tubes and sticks

  • Aerosol cans (use GFL recycling bin)

  • Perfume bottles

  • Nail polish bottles

  • Nail polish remover bottles

  • Electronic items e.g. blow dryers (use ewaste bin)

  • Bio-medical waste and packaging contents

  • Bio-hazardous waste and packaging contents

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • Nail-polish

The Auraria Sustainable Campus Program partnered with TerraCycle's Nordstrom recycling program in order to close the loop on hard to recycle cosmetic and personal care products!! Find a bin on campus using our campus map!

Accepted Items
Not Accepted Items
  • Cables

  • Flash drives

  • String lights

  • Small general electronics

  • Mice

  • Keyboards

  • Electric toothbrushes

  • Curling irons

  • Hair Straighteners

  • Batteries

  • Equipment owned by the schools and AHEC

  • Printer cartridges

  • Monitors or towers

  • Large LED bulbs

  • Materials containing Freon or Mercury

  • Oversized appliances e.g. microwaves and dishwashers

  • Smoke or carbon monoxide detectors

The Auraria Sustainable Campus Program partnered with local Blue Star Recyclers recycling program in 2018 to close the loop on hard to recycle electronic products!! Find a bin on campus using our campus map! Campus office or department? Please reference the documents below for details on how to properly recycle your e-waste!

Accepted Items
  • All brands and packaging

  • Toothpaste tubes

  • Toothbrushes

  • Floss containers

  • Floss picks

Not Accepted Items
  • Electronic toothbrushes (use ewaste bin)

  • Electronic toothbrush heads (use GFL trash bin)

  • Water Flossers

  • Standard recycling e.g. large bottles w/ caps 

The Auraria Sustainable Campus Program partnered with TerraCycle's Colgate recycling program in order to close the loop on hard to recycle oral health products!! Find a bin on campus using our campus map!

Accepted Items
Not Accepted Items
  • Extinguished cigarettes

  • Cigarette filters

  • Loose tobacco pouches

  • Outer plastic packaging

  • Inner foil packaging

  • Rolling paper

  • Ash

  • Outer paperboard packaging (use GFL recycling bin)

The Auraria Sustainable Campus Program partnered with TerraCycle's Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company recycling program in order to close the loop on hard to recycle cigarette materials!! Thank you to AHEC Grounds for collecting and participating in this program.

Accepted Items
  • Florescent/LED lightbulbs

  • Scrap metal

  • Lithium-ion batteries

  • Bulk equipment/furniture

  • Construction material

  • Hazardous waste materials

Not Accepted Items
  • Outer paperboard packaging (use GFL recycling bin)

The Auraria Higher Education Center partners with the ASCP, MSU Denver, UC Denver, and CCD to collect and monitor hard-to-recycle items generated throughout campus. To schedule an item pick-up or learn more, please check out the AHEC material collection webpage.

"What About This?"

Here are some helpful tips on tricky or hard to recycle items:



  • Thin plastic soda and coffee lids are NOT recyclable through Alpine, even though they have a recycle symbol and #.

  • Bottle/Jar Lids: If a lid is the same material as the bottle (ie: plastic on plastic), keep it on. If it is different (metal lid, glass bottle), remove the lid.



  • Large, dense packing Styrofoam (found around new appliances) CAN be recycled in our blue bins (clamshells cannot). This is a unique service offered by Alpine.


Many items CAN be recycled if they are batched together at special collection sites:



  • E-Waste can be dropped off in e-Waste bins located in front of the Tivoli Station Bookstore and in the northeast corner of the Arts Building. Acceptable items include:

    • batteries, power cords, small electronics (1.5” thick or less), laptops, tablets, and phones

    • The ASCP hosts two e-waste recycling events throughout the year for larger electronic items. Text ASCP to 22828 to sign up for the ASCP Newsletter, where events will be announced.



  • Plastic bags CAN be recycled in batches at many grocery store collection sites, including most Albertson's, King Soopers, Safeway, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart and Target!



  • Shredded paper will clog the machines at Alpine’s sorting facility. However, you can either compost it, recycle it by putting it in a closed paper bag or cereal box, or take it to Office Max or Shred Nations for a small fee. See Denver's Trash and Recycling Directory for more info. 



  • The Denver Trash and Recycling Directory allows you to type in the name of the material you would like to recycle and learn where to recycle or compost just about anything!

  • Still have hard to recycle waste? Check out before you give up!


If you want to help our on-campus efforts, have an idea how to make Auraria waste-free, or want to learn more about the ASCP, get involved!

bottom of page