Zero Waste

Zero Waste

Zero Waste


zero waste examples

What is Zero Waste? 
Zero Waste: Designing, using and managing products and processes to eliminate all waste and conserve and recover all resources.

Why Recycle? 
Reduce, reuse, recycle! As the world's population continues to increase, so does the demand for resources. Recycling diverts waste from our landfills into facilities that can separate and process the waste so that it can be made into new products. Recycled products not only reduce the need for new materials, they also decrease the amount of energy used in production of products. Recycling is one of the easiest ways we can help reduce our impact on the planet. 

Why Compost? 
One of the biggest foreseeable needs for future generations is the need for food. Composting items diverts compostable materials from our landfills into separate facilities that allow those materials to break down and create new soil. The soil produced has nutrients and good bacteria that the current food systems have depleted from the Earth. By adding compost into the food system, we are ensuring future generation's access to healthy and flavorful food. 

Off-Campus Recycling: 
Recycling off-campus in our personal lives is important, too. While Colorado Springs lacks some of the recycling resources of other cities in Colorado, with a little effort it is possible to recycle most anything that is recyclable here. For more information on local recycling resources, visit the city's recycling website.


Zero Waste Campaigns

I Don't Know Bin Example
I Don't Know Bins
Thanks to a partnership with Team Green in the KFL Library we were able to revamp this campaign. A campaign idea from a 2019 AASHE Conference, these bins were placed in certain areas on the two floors of the KFL Library and were designed to see what items students didn't know what bins they go in. With this campaign we hope to show the importance of having recycling and compost in various buildings around campus.
students handing out coffee at an Espresso Yourself event
Espresso Yourself

Espresso Yourself is a campaign to encourage our UCCS community to 'express' themselves by bringing their own coffee cup to the coffee shops. Bring your own mug and receive a 10 cent discount on your beverage thanks to Dining and Hospitality Services.

student conducting building waste audit
Building Waste Audits

Building waste audits tell us a lot about the habits of the occupants. It also helps us better understand what kind of educational campaigns we should focus on and what kind of infrastructure is needed. Building waste audits led us to focus our efforts on reducing coffee cups! Espresso Yourself!

students putting together compost bins
Composting Infrastructure in KFL

Thanks to a partnership with the KFL Team Green and Facilities Services, we have composting services in the library! Students managed this project by working with our Custodial staff to reduce the number of bins around the library, which reduced labor needs while also increasing our diversion rate in the building. 

Student biking past move out donation banner
Move Out Donations

Moving out of the residence halls in May? Plan to donate your unwanted items! We partner with local organizations to accept clothes, appliances, furniture, canned goods, and more! Check the UCCS calendar for our move-out donation event dates.

waste education
Waste Education

Help us put waste in the right place! It can be difficult to know where to throw your trash. We try to keep it simple (Is it cardboard? aluminum? glass? paper? Recycle! Is it food? Is it from our Coffee Shops or Cafe 65? Compost!) And when in doubt, throw it in the landfill. Better to landfill it then contaminate the recycling or composting. 

food waste audits
Food Waste Audits

Food waste audits in the dining halls help us better understand how to reduce food waste. On average, UCCS does a great job not wasting food! At recent audits, we saw less than 1.7 lbs. of food waste over 100 plates. These audits inform DHS what type of food could be portioned differently or encourage new ways to reduce food waste. 

students at Mt. Trashmore
Mt. Trashmore

Mt. Trashmore is a waste audit from a day's-worth of UCCS trash! We've found that over 50% of UCCS' trash could have been diverted to composting or recycling. We also learned that coffee cups are one of the most confusing items. Instead, bring your own! But if you do get hot or cold coffee from UCCS, the cups are compostable!