Colorado State University Hartshorn Health Services Digs Through Trash to Audit Waste, Increase Sustainability

Note to Editors: Reporters who would like to attend the event should contact Dell Rae Moelleberg at 970-491-6009 or

Colorado State University’s Hartshorn Health Services is conducting a trash audit from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct.8 in the health center parking lot.

Hartshorn Health Services has created a sustainability team to encourage employees to practice a more sustainable lifestyle.

"The purpose of this team will be to increase the sustainability behaviors that employees partake in on a daily basis while on the job," said Gwen Sieving, a health educator at Hartshorn. The team is made up of people from all departments of the Hartshorn.

The trash audit will allow the sustainability team to evaluate the amount of trash thrown away at Hartshorn and find the percentage of trash that could have been recycled or diverted in other ways from the landfill such as through reducing and reusing.

"We feel as if we have a fairly good start on these types of practices but realize there will be room to get better and better in these efforts," said Sieving. Hartshorn does practice recycling, but this trash audit will allow employees to visually see what can and cannot be diverted.

The trash that will be part of the audit will be three days worth of office trash, and no medical or hazardous trash will be used in the audit. After the trash audit, a report will be issued on the audit’s findings and action efforts will proceed. The action efforts will include increasing the sustainability effort which includes reducing, reusing and recycling at Hartshorn by supplementing it by adding composting, more recycle bins and reusing items.

The sustainability team’s goals are to identify their starting point when it comes to waste, implement an increased recycling effort and continue to evaluate and improve sustainability at Hartshorn. The audit is a part of an overall sustainability assessment that looks at waste, utility usage and water usage.

"We are in the business of health and it is a natural fit to include practices that benefit the health of the plant and environment," said Sieving.