Environmental Center

student recycling trash

The Environmental Center has always been a leader in reducing waste and advancing recycling in the region beyond FLC as well. In fact, the EC itself grew from a student-organized paper recycling program in 1986 and later became the first to offer plastic recycling in Durango and household battery recycling.

The Zero-Waste program works hard to help Fort Lewis College keep solid waste out of landfills through recycling and composting efforts. Fort Lewis Physical Plant Services maintains the primary campus recycling program while our team continuously searches for new materials to recycle and new ways to reduce!

Team Efforts and Resources:

Fort Lewis College Recycling and Waste System Assessment: During the 2016-2017 the academic year, the Environmental Center Zero Waste Team, with help from the Environmental Studies department and Physical Plant Services, completed a full assessment of the FLC waste and recycling system. The assessment outlines our current system, provides recycling and waste data, and provides several recommendations for improvements to our system. We encourage anyone interested in improving our campus to take a look and consider how you, your department, or your hall can do your part!

Key Findings:

  • Recycling oversight and responsibility varies from building to building and from public areas vs. private offices.
  • The prevalence of recycling bins varies across campus - some places have good access while other places have less.
  • Approximately 25% of the material in campus garbage is comprised of easily recyclable material.
  • Residence Halls produce about 2/3 of campus garbage per year.
  • On a per-person basis, FLC performs better than small higher-ed institutions with regard to waste generation but worse than large institutions.

Recycling Signage: The Environmental Center worked with FLC Marketing & Communications to develop recycling signs to be used throughout our campus. Please feel free to download and use the signs as you need!

Free Store: We provide a reciprocal donation thrift service for the FLC community every week. Instead of throwing things away, folks can drop off their unwanted items and pick up any items they may need. The Free Store offers everything from clothing to furniture to office supplies! Donations are accepted at the EC during any regular business hours; check out our events page to see when the Free Store is open to browse!

Extended Recycling: The Environmental Center currently accepts ink-jets and toner cartridges and batteries for our extended recycling program. Stop by our office in Student Union 145 to drop off your items. FLC students, staff, and faculty campus-use items only, please! We cannot currently accept items from home. The City of Durango does offer an electronics recycling for residents that includes battery services. Home Depot offers CFL light bulb recylcing. Our program is always looking to expand and see how we can capture more hard-to-recycle items. Please contact us with any ideas or requests!

Rocket Composter: We successfully reduce food waste in our campus dining hall by operating a commercial-grade composting system. The program is a collaborative effort between the Environmental Center and our dining services provider, Sodexo.

FLC Recycling: The Fort Lewis College Physical Plant Recycling page has information about recycling services provided on campus.

City of Durango: The City of Durango has a full service recycling program - a service that our team advocated for in 1993!

Southwest Colorado Council of Governments Regional Recycling: SWCCOG hosts a website that has great resources and links to all the regional recycling programs in southwest Colorado.

Recycling Resources: Every year we take on different programming and outreach efforts to educate our community about recycling best practices. Check out this helpful resource from Waste Management. Though every community is different, this site really helps to understand the recycling process of different materials at a deeper level. If you have any helpful resources such as this, please share them with us!

Annual Campus Move-Out Collection: Our Zero Waste team organizes an annual collection at the end of the school year for students moving out of their dorms and apartments on campus. The items are made available to local community members and organizations during the drive, and additional items are stored over the summer and offered to students moving in the following Fall semester.