Lab Specific Waste Diversion at the University of Colorado Boulder

Sarah Vander Meulen, University of Colorado Boulder

The CU Green Labs team at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) has been collaborating with the labs on campus to increase lab specific waste diversion. Materials that enter and leave labs are often very difficult to recycle due to contamination concerns. We have managed to set up recycling for various lab specific materials including foam, pipette tip boxes, plastic conicals, plastic film, metal containers, select solvents, and more. This presentation will describe the different recycling programs we have in place, how those are maintained, and how they have been a great tool for engaging lab members to support waste diversion and create opportunities between CU Green Labs and lab members for further collaboration towards energy and water savings.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the different materials CU Green Labs has been able to recycle and the rules and signage involved.
  • Learn how the lab specific waste diversion has engaged labs and lab departments in the CU Green Lab program.
  • Learn about the challenges and successes of our efforts on waste diversion in labs.
  • Learn about what materials we hope to address next.


Sarah Vander Meulen is currently a second year undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder studying Environmental Engineering. She has been working with Kathy Ramirez-Aguilar and the CU Green Labs program as a student assistant for two years on reducing energy consumption, solid waste production, and water use in the research labs on campus.


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