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Auraria Campus Celebrates America Recycles Day

2013 December 6

By Virginia Till

My school, the University of Colorado Denver, is part of the Auraria Higher Education Center. At Auraria, we’re not afraid to get our hands dirty. In fact, we enjoy it. As part of our participation in the EPA-led Food Recovery Challenge, and in celebration of America Recycles Day, we did the first-ever waste audit of the Tivoli Student Union.

Americans tossed out more than 36 million tons of food in 2011, and nearly all of it ended up in landfills or incinerators. The Food Recovery Challenge asks participants to reduce as much of their food waste as possible – saving money, helping communities, and protecting the environment.

With EPA-supplied bench scales, we weighed 26 bags of compost, recycle, and landfill materials gathered from the Tivoli’s 3-bin collection stations. This was then resorted to determine potential for improvement.

By looking at how we were recycling, we learned that we’d do a lot better by sorting properly. Knowing this will help Auraria determine strategies for improving recyling in the Tivoli Student Union and reduce the amount of waste sent to local landfills. It was fun getting our hands dirty and finding out how the campus can improve its waste management. How much of your food and money are you literally throwing away?

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About the author: Virginia Till is a graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver, pursuing a master’s in integrated sciences. She studies and works on sustainable building operations and is a Recycling Specialist for EPA Region 8 in Denver.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. R D Inskeep permalink
    December 7, 2013

    I’m a Building products wholesaler, trained also as an energy auditor.
    Zero homes are achievable, however your pic above triggered my interest as well.

    My son and I, also inoculate logs for shiitake production and my wish is to do the same with morels (I’m originally from Iowa, a morel hotspot).
    I have the fungi perspective of NC A & T here in NC.

    Do you do any morel production there in CO in Oak medium or Oak logs?

  2. John Walker permalink
    December 9, 2013

    What a great way to celebrate America recycles day. Food waste is not as well known as other forms of waste and it’s good to draw peoples attention to it and to share the lessons learned about sorting waste. Great stuff.

  3. Virginia permalink
    December 11, 2013

    R D Inskeep,

    I don’t believe there is any commercial morel production here in Colorado. We don’t have tons of Oak. Many of our morels are fire morels that pop up in burn areas, and we have white morels too.

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