Wurster Hall Waste Management

Project Lead: Eli Perszyk

Sponsor: College of Environmental Design, Facilities Services

TGIF Grant: $38,400; additional $10,710 awarded in January 2013, bringing the project total to $49,110

Project Theme: Waste Reduction

Project Location

2012 Application Submission

Status: Complete

Project Description: Funding will be used to pilot an indoor recycling program with standardized bins, signage, and education to then be implemented campus-wide, pending results.


  • Wurster Hall = 225,000 square feet
  • Home to the College of Environmental Design, includes the Departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, and City and Regional Planning, theCED Library, the Fabrication Shop, the Ceramics Studio, Ramona's Café, Research Units, faculty and staff offices, instructional space, 7 Design Studios, mostly Architecture, with 24/7 occupancy.
  • Average daily occupancy of over 1,000 people, mostly students.

Goals: Pilot two waste management systems in Wurster Hall, home to the College of Environmental Design, that will optimize waste separation and move the campus closer to ambitious goals of diverting waste from landfill. The systems will have 4 containers for Compost, Paper, Bottles/Cans, and Landfill. Conduct pre- and post-installation waste audits to generate data on the success of the pilot. Collaborate with Compost Alliance on an education and outreach campaign for the building occupants. Share results of this pilot program with CRRS and campus facilities/building managers.

TGIF Blog Posts about Wurster Hall

Project Photos

2013 Project Poster

2012-2013 Accomplishments
The new system includes two types of containers. New Triad Receptacle public lobby containers from Forms & Surfaces have been installed. These were placed in the 2nd and 3rd floor North lobbies, as well as the 1st, 3rd, and 4th floor South lobbies. The 1st floor North lobby and floors 3-9 studio containers from max-R have also been installed. The Max-R system is for high-volume areas.

  • The TGIF Funded Waste Audits Team conducted a pre-implementation waste audit for Wurster Hall.
    • Pre-implementation waste audit results have been reported.
  • Ordered Forms & Surfaces Containers.
    • Five lobby sets have been installed in Wurster and educational signage has been posted.
Before Forms & Surfaces After Forms & Surfaces
  • Designed the layout for max-R Containers to meet the campus standard and include the College of Environmental Design logo.
    • Bins need to be custom designed to fit 45 gallon carts; the customized designs will meet ergonomic requirements and will work with the CRRS pick-up procedures.
    • These bins will be installed in the first floor lobby and the studio floors 3-9.
Before Max-R After Max-R
  • Received approval of additional grant funds in the amount of $10,710 to cover unforeseen costs of max-R bins. Original grant budget did not cover the costs of the specially designed bins needed to handle the waste, recycling, and composting outputs of Wurster's design studios and cafe. The Committee approved the additional funds with the following requirements from the project:
    • Pre- and post-implementation waste audit results.
    • User survey results from building occupants and custodians servicing the bins.
    • Open house and publicity plans for the pilot program once everything has been implemented.
    • Plans for integrating this as the campus indoor standard.
  • New Max-R bin system was ordered and installed.
    • Custom toters were designed and manufactured by max-R to fit inside the containers.
  • Project leader Eli Perszyk and 2012 TGIF Grant Getting to Zero Waste: Waste Audits project leader Hanna Miller presented at the 2013 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

2013-2014 Update

  • The Waste Audit Team conducted a post-implementation waste audit during the week of February 11th. These results revealed that although the total waste generated has decreased since the implementation of the bins, contamination due to improper sorting remained a problem. 
  • The College of Environmental Design added additional slim jim sets in the studios, computer labs, and Shop.
    • Customized covers/lids were added to the Max-R bins in the Studios due to complaints regarding smell.
  • Composting has been implemented in all Wurster Hall bathrooms.
    • Partnered with Custodial Services, which is now servicing Compost as a regular waste stream, instead of being an extra service. 
  • Partnered with CRRS to create a new multi-lingual waste management banner, which were installed in the Design Studios. 
  • A new outdoor waste management area is being designed and built. As of January 2015, construction is nearly completed. 

Final Report

Next Steps
  • The project, and other waste management projects, could benefit from an ongoing educational campaign on campus to educate people about what to put into the different waste streams.
    • Wurster Hall landfill waste stream. In Wurster Hall, outreach will be coordinated by the SPROUTS team, which plans on designing and incorporating customized signage with commonly thrown away items that could be composted or recycled- namely, items sold in Ramona’s and materials that architecture students
      use. After these are put in place, SPROUTS and CRRS staff will present these changes to staff and
      studio students who frequent the building, in order to ensure clarity and comprehensibility. 
  • Changing the upstream materials sold by vendors (to-go containers, coffee lids, etc) to recyclable and compostable materials. 
  • Transition compost, bottle, and can pick-ups to in-house operations. 
  • A redesign of the 1st floor bins to improve aesthetics is still under consideration. 

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.