Western Colorado University Recycling Program
The Gunnison Valley is a uniquely beautiful area surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest. Western Colorado University and the City of Gunnison are dedicated to protecting these natural resources.
We are a leading part of the community in sustainability through recycled goods, a bike-friendly campus, LEED-certified buildings, solar energy, green cleaning products and composting food waste. Western has progressed immensely in its sustainability efforts since former Western president Jay Helman signed the American College and University Climate Commitment in 2007. The campus recycling program is an integral part of our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2035.
Our goals are to reduce waste and promote a culture change based on the principles of the Three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). We are currently researching our campus waste stream in order to reduce our contribution to the local landfill. Also, we are promoting opportunities to reduce paper and electricity consumption, as well as reusing items through our “FreeCycle ” program. In addition, we have increased our recycling efforts over the last year to make recycling more visible and convenient for students, faculty and staff around campus. In November 2011, we installed our first solar-powered trash compactor with an attached recycling station on the south side of Taylor Hall. We have seen steady growth in our total recycling program and expect continued growth in the future.
Custodial services provide a clean, safe, and healthy campus environment.
In April 2007, Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., signed the Greening of State Executive Orders D011 07 and D012 07. In April 2010, in recognition of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Gov. Ritter issued an executive order D2010-006 for state government to build upon the successes of his 2007 Greening Government directives and Climate Action Plan, which call for specific reductions in energy, petroleum, water and trash and to increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.
The Green Cleaning Program is now the standard for Western Colorado University.
Green Cleaning is defined as “cleaning to protect health without harming the environment.” (Steve Ashkin)
Procedures and products are utilized which contribute to healthy surroundings for building occupants and cleaning staff and minimize the impact of cleaning operations on the environment. Building cleanliness is not solely evaluated on appearance. Instead, an equal emphasis is placed on the environmental sustainability of cleaning operations and overall building health.
The U.S. Green Building Council, the EPA, and other organizations are requiring cleaning operations to use green chemistry, reduce packaging waste, and focus on sustainable cleaning programs that reduce the impact on our environment and health while improving worker safety.
Custodial services is taking sustainability to a new level. We have found many green alternatives to the standard cleaning chemicals and will continue to look for new ways to reduce the reliance on harmful chemicals and replace them with high performing alternatives.
- HEPA filtration vacuum cleaners LEED-EB states that vacuums need to be CRI certified, operate at sound levels 70dB or less, and have user friendly ergonomic designs. All Pro Team vacuums meet these requirements.
- Microfiber cloths capture dirt and bacteria at a higher rate and require fewer cleaning chemicals compared to regular cleaning cloths.
- 100 percent recycled paper products
- Recycled plastic trash liners
- Green certified hand soaps reduce human and aquatic toxicity and reduce smog production potential.
Custodial services is committed to purchasing Green Seal products for the majority of our campus sanitation needs.
How Do You Successfully Recycle in On-Campus Housing?
- Use blue bins to store your recyclable products inside rooms until bins are full.
- Take outside to the recycling station located nearest your building. Sort the contents into the appropriate containers (aluminum, cardboard, plastic #1 and #2, paper, tin, newspaper/magazine, glass) for our recycling crew to pick up and take to the Gunnison County Recycling Center.
- Smile and appreciate being a part of saving the environment.
How Do You Successfully Recycle in Academic Buildings?
- Use labeled bins conveniently located throughout the buildings. Aluminum, cardboard, plastic #1 and #2, paper, newspaper/magazine and glass.
- The recycling crew will sort and take material to the outside recycling stations. These stations are emptied twice a week. The materials are then taken to the Gunnison County Recycling Center for further processing.
- Office pack: white and colored papers
- Plastic #1 and #2 ONLY; please check number and empty contents
- Aluminum cans
- Tin cans
- Magazines and newspapers
- Glass: clear, green and brown: please empty contents
- Cardboard: boxes, flat, corrugated, pizza delivery boxes
- Waxed papers
- Neon folders
- Plastics #3-#7
- Manilla folders
- Overnight mail packages
- Waxed cardboard
- Plastic bags
- Bubble wrap
Western Colorado University diverts anywhere from 9,000 to 19,000 lbs. of recyclable material from the landfill on a monthly basis. We recycled approximately 139,450 lbs. (59 tons) of material in 2012.
In greenhouse gas (GHG) terms, this means we reduced our GHG emissions by 192 tons of CO 2 equivalent. This is similar to the annual electricity consumption of 30 homes or the annual GHG emissions from 40 passenger vehicles! We encourage you to get involved in our campus sustainability efforts and help make a difference in the Gunnison Valley.