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This is a short film which follows the path of our trash from the Colorado College campus to the Bestway’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF). The film highlights the economic and ecological benefits of closing resource loops, and challenges us to be more conscious about how our ever day decisions impact the amount of land-fill bound waste that is generated. We are left with the question: How can we eliminate the word waste from our vocabulary all together? Filmed in 2014 by Alex Suber and Julian Kraus-Polk.

How much waste does CC produce?

  • Landfill Bound Waste (LFB) ~ 15,044 lbs/ week (approx. 2.5 garbage trucks full)
  • Single Stream Recycling ~ 7, 163 lbs/ week (approx 1.2 garbage truck full)
  • Compost ~ 8,300 lbs/ week (approx 1.3 garbage trucks full)
  • Total Waste: 30,000 lbs/ week (approx 5 garbage trucks)

This data was collected during an 8-week audit in the spring of 2015. These are average amounts over the 8 weeks.


Where does your waste go while living at Colorado College?

  • Compost

    Our food scraps, paper napkins, cups, plates, etc... travel to a compost site located in southeast Colorado Springs. The compost will be ground, turned, and with added water, some labor and most importantly time, this food waste will be come a commercial product to be sold in the local community as a soil amendment.

  • Landfill Bound Waste

    Our plastic bags, plastics utensils, plastic soda bottles, Styrofoam and other non-recyclables travel to a nearby landfill in Colorado Springs and are buried for hundreds of years to come.

  • Recycling

    Our paper products, aluminum foil, tin cans, cardboard, plastics (#1- #7), glass bottles, etc… travel to the Bestway Disposal local Material Recovery Facility in Colorado Springs where the commingled materials are then separated into marketable commodities.

    Cardboard may become brown craft paper, or may be used in making drywall in the United States

    Paper will likely be sent to the ports of CA, where it will then be transloaded into sea containers and shipped (literally) to a country overseas.

    Plastics may be sent to domestic markets (within the United States) where they will be sorted and ground into marketable feedstocks, or may be sent to a local company (within the state of CO) to be made into plastic landscape timbers or irrigation pipe.

    Glass bottles will likely travel to MillerCoors in Golden, CO to be processed into new bottles

    Tin and aluminum cans could travel to a local metal recycler where the materials will be combined with other like materials and sent on to be made into new materials either domestically or abroad.

Contributing Editor

Alicia Archibald


  • Material Recovery Facility Film - This is a film made by Bestwey Disposal, which describes how single stream recycling in Colorado Springs is separated before the material is sold. 
  • Story of Stuff Fact Sheet - The story of stuff fact sheet provides great general information about waste and the life-cycle of the products we use. It highlights the importance of reducing, recycling and reusing materials. 
  • EPA - "What is in Our Trash" - The Environmental Protection Agency's general information regarding our waste profile in the United States.