Zero Waste

Getting to Zero Waste

UC Berkeley is working to transform its recycling and waste systems so that the campus sends zero waste to landfills by 2020. Today we are diverting about 54% of our municipal solid waste stream to recycling, composting, or resuse. By the end of 2020 we want to be diverting almost all of the waste and meet our goal! 

Can we do it? Many factors must come together, but if we accelarate what we are already doing well, and really activate each of us make zero waste choices, get the compostable and recyclable materials into the right bins, reduce our use of packaging and one-time use products and share and reuse we can do it.

Long term we are aiming for a circular vision or economy for our material use so landfill waste is in our distant past. Students, faculty and staff are already monitoring, advocating for policy, and piloting programs to build this cycle at here at home and around the world.

The Big Picture from our Zero Waste Leaders

What is Zero Waste at UC Berkeley

Bring on the Bins

In terms of what the campus administration is doing, we are stepping up the installation of our multiple stream (recycle, compost, landfill) infrastructure and education programs. Facilities Services and Cal Zero Waste just installed over 40 new solar compacting multi-stream exterior bins-you will now see them near every building on the main campus. They also have in the works rolling out to every campus operated building interior multi-stream bin systems - these systems emphasize diversion. Housing and Dining has already rolled out these interior systems in all of the residence halls.
Education and behavior change is key to success - while administration is focused on getting all the right systems in place, our whole community needs to work together so we recycle and compost everything that can be and find new and 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.

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.

Created September 2018

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