Since its inception, the Environmental Center has been a leader in reducing waste and advancing recycling in the region. We grew from a paper recycling program organized by students in 1986, and often are the first to offer recycling of a particular type of material. The EC was the first to offer recycling of plastics. Next it was household batteries. The City of Durango now collects both at drop-off locations around town.
Today, Fort Lewis’ Physical Plant Services does an excellent job maintaining the primary recycling program on campus, while the EC has moved on to finding new materials to recycle and new ways to reduce waste. Go to the Fort Lewis College Waste Reduction web page to find out about recycling and waste reduction at Fort Lewis and in the larger Four Corners region.
The Zero-Waste program works on the front-end to ensure that Fort Lewis buys recyclable products and works on the back-end to keep what we do use out of the landfill through recycling and composting. In collaboration with Physical Plant and Sodexo, the Environmental Center helps operate the Rocket Composter, the newest edition to FLC's sustainability commitment.
In 2010, the Zero-Waste program finished a waste audit that revealed 20% of what's in FLC's trash should be in a recycling bin and 18% could potentially be composted. That means with more coordination and education FLC could reduce its waste stream by about 40%!
In 2009-10, the Zero-Waste program succeeded in getting a grant to start recycling at all Fort Lewis College events, including sporting events and other outside activities held on campus. We are even beginning a program that would allow students or faculty to rent a recycling kit to put out at any events they feel necessary.
The Zero-Waste program also organizes a campus Free Store, held every other week, in which the campus community can donate and trade unwanted items. It gives students a chance to obtain useful items free of charge and also get rid of extra clutter. This is for recyclable and non-recyclable items such as old clothing, kitchen and bath goods, furniture, or office supplies.
The Environmental Center collects ink jet and laser jet cartridges. If you have a Hewlett-Packard laser jet cartridge, please bring it to the Center. The Zero-Waste Team will sort through them and send in the models that we can recycle for processing.
The EC’s Zero-Waste program also organizes an annual campus cleanup, a year-end, move-out collection program called Operation Dumpster Rescue, and offers education about how we can work together to make FLC a zero-waste campus.