Microsoft HQ Achieves Zero Waste Certification
How the tech giant met its lofty diversion goal
Diverting 90% of its waste from landfills and incinera- tion earned the Zero Waste Facility Certification at he Gold level for Microsoft’s global headquarters in
The campus encompasses 125 buildings housing more
than 44,000 employees who participate in reducing, reus-
ing, recycling and composting “at an unprecedented rate,”
according to GBCI, which administers the Zero Waste
Facility certification program. Microsoft’s successful waste
mitigation strategies include:
■ Smart sorting: Waste is sorted to maximize recycling
and composting. This step alone diverts about 87% of
the campus’s waste from landfills.
■ Sustainable farming: Hydroponic towers in campus
cafes grow lettuce and microgreens for campus chefs.
The grow towers are not only visually appealing, but
also water-efficient – they use up to 90% less water
than conventional farming methods.
■ Café conservation goals: The Redmond campus diverts
99.5% of food, packaging and other dining-related
waste from the landfill across 33 cafes, 32 espresso
cafes and more than 500 kitchenettes.
■ Office supply reuse: A wide-ranging reuse program
helps extend the life of office supplies, furnishings and
computer equipment. People on campus use an on-site
and online store to locate surplus binders, power cords,
laptops and whiteboards so that nothing is thrown away
prematurely. Furniture is repaired and reused when-
ever possible and is frequently donated to nonprofits
through a global furniture reuse program.
University of Colorado Scores Big with Zero-Waste Goals
Football stadium bolsters waste reduction
The grass isn’t the only thing that is green at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field. The university has made efforts to make the home grounds of the Colorado
Buffaloes more efficient and environmentally friendly both
inside and imme-
of the stadium.
Nearly all of
the food and
drinks sold in
the stadium have
clable or com-
Additionally, the tailgating experience on the grounds near
the field has become more sustainable, as fans can rent spe-
cial tents with furniture, coolers and compostable tailgate sup-
plies. These designated areas have become incredibly popular
on game day.
“This is a perfect example of how easy it can be for fan
experience and sustainability to coexist,” says Sarah Martinez,
Sustainability Maven for Eco-Products, the company that
helped facilitate the university’s efforts. “This is about as
green as tailgating can get.”
Inside the stadium, fans can also find “Zero Waste Goalies”
wearing green shirts and guiding them to the right composta-
ble or recyclable bins.
“Even at CU, we still see some blank stares when people
walk up to the bin stations,” explains Martinez. “But we make
it as easy for fans, and they’re always happy to learn that their
trash is not headed to the landfill.”
Named for the school’s mascot, these efforts are all part of
Ralphie’s Green Stampede, the NCAA’s first sports sustainabil-
ity program. The initiative has increased recycling to the tune
of 90% during football games at Folsom Field.
“Fans have good reason to be proud of the University
of Colorado’s commitment to the environment,” says Rick
George, CU’s Athletic Director. “Ralphie’s Green Stampede
has been a huge success, keeping tons of garbage out of area
landfills. This new approach to zero-waste tailgating builds on
our momentum and represents the next step in our sustainability journey.”