Waste Reduction and Diversion
Pikes Peak Community College is committed to reducing the supplies needed for operation and diverting waste from the landfill and into a production stream.
The 3rd Leave-No-Trace Principle of disposing of waste properly when visiting the great outdoors inspired this program. We encourage students, faculty, and instructors to take any trash or recyclables they brought into the classroom back out to the hallway to dispose of in a waste station. Please wait until the end of class to avoid disrupting the learning environment. This program does not change waste collection in laboratories.
Here are the triple-bottom-line benefits of this program:
- Social: The removal of waste receptacles in the classroom decreases the spread of allergens and germs. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about two students per class have a food allergy (Source). Also, students waiting to eat food and dispose of their waste until after class minimizes distractions in the classroom.
- Economic/Financial: This program will save the college $37,000 in purchasing trash and recycling receptacles for over 200 classrooms across three campuses. Also, the consolidation of waste collection will provide custodial staff with more time to focus on other tasks, such as sanitizing surfaces.
- Environmental: The better-equipped hallway waste stations will reduce contamination in the recycling stream. This benefit helps the college retain its waste hauling service and ensure more recyclables end up as new products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What if I need to blow my nose?
A: If you are sick, we advise you to stay at home until you are better. Otherwise, we encourage you to blow your nose in a bathroom where you can wash your hands. You could also carry reusable hankies and hand sanitizer.
Q: What if I ate food that was messy?
A: We advise students to wait until after class to eat food that might cause a mess. In general, eating food in the classroom can distract other students from paying attention to their instructors. If you do find yourself in this situation, you should discard the food into a hallway waste station as soon as you are finished. Also, make sure you wash your hands as well.
PPCC offers single-stream recycling throughout our three campuses. Look for the blue receptacles labeled with the chasing arrow symbol. Graphic design students created signs for the indoor waste stations that indicate what materials are recyclable (made into new products) and what items go to the landfill (trash).
The Office of Sustainability and the Department of Facilities and Operations co-managed the recycling program. Since 2012, they have made significant investments in upgrading the trash and recycling receptacles. The program also received funding from the PPCC Pilot Project and Campus Improvement Program and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's The Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) Grant Program.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I drop-off my household recyclables?
- PPCC does not provide public drop-off recycling service at any of our campuses. Please contact one of the many waste hauling companies to inquire about recycling and composting services.
- Is it recyclable?
- A general rule of thumb is "When in Doubt, Throw it Out." In other words, dispose of the item in the landfill (trash) receptacle to avoid potentially contaminating the entire recycling container.
- If you are a college employee, you are welcome to contact us using the form below.
- If you are at home, check out your waste hauler's website and the El Paso County Recycling Directory.
- A custodian seems to be placing a bag of recycling into a rolling trash container.
- The custodial closets do not have enough space to accommodate separate waste containers for collecting trash and recycling. Custodians differentiate between the two using black bags for trash and clear bags for recycling.
- A custodian seems to be placing a bag of recycling into the landfill (trash) dumpster.
- Our trained custodial staff looks for wide-spread food and liquid contamination in the recycling receptacles. If a custodian identifies a bag with this issue, they will dispose of it in the landfill (trash) dumpster to avoid contaminating the entire recycling dumpster. This quality control step is critical to the college retaining its waste hauling service.
Reusable Water-Bottle Refill Stations
PPCC has invested in reusable water-bottle refilling stations throughout our three campuses. These stations dispense chilled and filtered water directly from snow-melt in the Rocky Mountains. This never-used before water rivals the quality of bottled water. The water-bottle filling stations significantly reduces waste generated from single-use bottled water.
Single-Use Bottled-Water Ban
The State of Colorado has banned the purchase of single-use bottle water using state funds. As a result, PPCC employees are not allowed to purchase this product for any official functions. Students, staff, and faculty can still purchase bottled-water using their own money from our cafes, bookstores, and vending machines.
- Batteries: PPCC recycles all batteries purchased using state funds.
- Computers: PPCC donates computers to local school districts.
- We only offer e-waste recycling services for business purposes. For a list of services provided in the community, check out the El Paso County Recycling Directory.
PPCC generates a small amount of pre-consumer food waste from our small cafes, Culinary Arts Program, and the Child Development Centers. The Office of Sustainability is researching small-scale composting systems to trial at the Centennial Campus. They plan on using the compost for amending the soil in the courtyard gardens.