Zero Waste

Getting to Zero Waste

Single-Use Plastic Elimination Policy

In April 2020, UC Berkeley committed to the strongest plastic ban in the country. This comprehensive target will eliminate all non-essential single-use plastic with viable alternatives by 2030. Unlike other plastic bans, UC Berkeley’s initiative goes beyond previously existing plastic reduction targets focused on foodware and plastic bags, and addresses the spectrum of products and packaging used in campus academics, research, administration, and events. Items that are commonly not a part of plastic policies, such as chip bags and foam packaging, are included in this commitment, so this will push for upstream solutions and continue UC Berkeley’s leadership in sustainability.

For more information on the commitment, you can see the policy language and press release

Zero Waste Coalition

UC Berkeley is currently working toward our Zero Waste by 2020 & Beyond goal to greatly reduce the amount of campus waste sent to landfill. To achieve Zero Waste (90% diversion of municipal solid waste) by 2020 & Beyond, Cal Zero Waste intends to expand and grow the current portfolio of programs to incorporate beyond what is included now as we move beyond 2020.

Today we are diverting about 54% of our municipal solid waste stream to recycling, composting, or reuse. To help us achieve zero waste:

  • put compostable and recyclable materials into the right bins, 
  • reduce usage of packaging, plastics, and single-use products, 
  • and use more reusables!

For more ways to get involved in the Zero Waste Movement on campus, check out the Zero Waste Coalition.

For more information about zero waste at UC Berkeley, click here to read UC Berkeley's 2019 Zero Waste Plan.

The UC Berkeley Guide to Zero Waste

The UC Berkeley Zero Waste Guide

Bring on the Bins

Cal Zero Waste and Facilities Services have installed over 85 solar compacting multi-stream (recycling, compost, landfill) exterior bins on campus. In addition, they are standardizing all campus operated buildings with interior multi-stream bin systems, including campus dining and residence halls. Education and behavior change are the keys to success in this process - our whole community must recycle, compost, and continue to find better ways to reduce and reuse.

More about Zero Waste at Cal

Our campus hub is Cal Zero Waste, find out what the campus is doing in detail. 

For more information about zero waste at UC Berkeley, click here to read UC Berkeley's 2019 Zero Waste Plan.

The student Zero Waste Research Center at UC Berkeley researches and implements upstream strategies for reducing campus waste, with a focus on purchasing, redesigning products, creating behavior change incentives, and instituting closed-loop “circular economy” waste systems.

See our Waste Goals and Performance.

Cal Zero Waste

Cal Zero Waste Logo

As part of Facilities Services, Cal Zero Waste is committed to expanding recycling and composting programs while providing effective refuse collection services. 

Participate in Zero Waste Efforts

You can help Berkeley reach its Zero Waste goals by utilizing the Big Belly Bin solar waste compactors for recycling and composting. These compactors are located all over campus.

solar compactor bins near Barrows Hall

Big Belly Bins near Barrows Hall

solar bins near Wheeler Hall

Big Belly Bins near Wheeler Hall