Refills Not Landfills

Project Leads: Claire Porter, Nick Cash, Morgan Fabian, Thomas Roccanova, Priyanka Mohanty

Sponsors: ReUSE, BYOM, and Campus Recycling & Refuse Services

TGIF Grant: $4,853

Project Theme: Waste Reduction

Project Location

2013 Application Submission

Status: Complete

Project Description: Refills Not Landfills will collaborate with local beverage sellers to create a stamp-card that can be used by customers who bring their own mugs for beverages. Each time a customer BYOM's, s/he will receive a stamp towards a free drink, with a goal of incentivizing customers to "refill" or reuse, not "landfill".

Goals: ReUSE seeks to integrate the efforts of BYOM into campus by providing an incentive to individuals who choose to reuse rather than dispose their beverage cups. The project will develop a stamp card and "Spot a Mug" coupon. The stamp card will reward students that use their reusable mug with a free drink after a number of purchases, while the coupon will award students with a free drink if they are spotted using their reusable mug on campus . The overall goal is to foster a culture of reuse by providing a reward for those who remember to bring their own mug when coffee hour hits. Instilling a behavior change in those individuals who have not taken a step to reduce their waste is another major goal.


Refills not Landfills logo

Project Implementation Plan

Project Leads
Time Frame
Involve at least 3 cafes in the “Refills, not Landfills” program
Reduce disposable coffee cup use by 25% over course of academic year
December 20, 2013
Cultivate the practice of bringing your own mug to a cafe at UC Berkeley
Discourage usage of single-use cups through signs and behavioral pressure
Cultivate the practice of bringing your own mug to a cafe at UC Berkeley
Draft job description for “Refills, not Landfills” interns
Morgan Fabian and Claire Porter
August 29, 2013
Post job description to Calisto, major listservs, etc.
Morgan Fabian and Claire Porter
September 9, 2013
Interns are interviewed and hired
Morgan Fabian and Claire Porter
September 30, 2013
First project update due to TGIF
October 1, 2013
Provide training to interns on project scope, goals, and timeline
Morgan Fabian and Claire Porter
October 7, 2013
Develop plan for semester
October 14, 2013
Reach out to cafes to gauge their interest in the project
October 28, 2013
Communicate with cafe owner and begin project
October 28, 2013
Make posters to publicize program
October 21, 2013
Stamp cards are printed
October 21, 2013
Continue to record metrics (number of disposable cups distributed, and number of reusable mugs brought)
Second project update due to TGIF
December 2013
Third project update due to TGIF
March 2013
Poster due to TGIF
April 1 2013
Written report due to TGIF
June 1 2013


 Final Accomplishments

  • Collected data on amount of paper coffee cups thrown away on campus each day by observations at Cafe Strada on four different days. 
  • Distributed surveys to coffee purchasers which asked participants about their daily coffee habits, their knowledge of any discount programs for using reusable bottles and mugs, and their potential to switch to reusuable alternatives if such programs existed.
  • Successful educational and outreach intiatives were established during the 2014 Earth Week, such as partnering with Cal Dining where they offered $1 coffee and tea for individuals who brought in their own mug at campus cafe locations and offered free coffee and tea on Earth Day.
  • On Earth Day 100 reusuable mugs were given away.
  • Created educational posters on why individuals should bring their own mugs.

2013-2014 Accomplishments

  • Visited various local cafes and identified two different promotions.
    • Cafe Blue Door had a mobile app (GVING) "buy 9 coffee OR tea drinks, get 1 free".
    • The Beanery had a "buy 9 coffees, get 1 free" promotion.
  • Transitioned project leadership from BYOM Intern Morgan Fabian to ReUSE Coordinator Thomas Roccanova in December 2013.
  • Combined Refills Not Landfills grant with remaining BYOM Grant ($4000) and Kielan Walker's Students Toward Zero Plastics (STOP) Grant for a Beverage Alliance.
  • Priyanka Mohanty, a Refills Not Landfills Staff Assistant, was hired to help market and launch the campaign. With Anshu Maskara from Take Back the Tap, they plan to have the grant finalized by March 2014. 
  • Meeting on February 21, 2014 with various stakeholders. It was decided that Cal Dining would begin making designs for bottles.  
  • Between March 3-5, 2014, Caffe Strada will record how many coffee users buy one-time coffee cups and enter campus so Refills Not Landfills can use the information to create improved marketing materials.  
  • Working with graduate student Laurie Hall to brainstorm an educational event during which to distribute the newly designed bottles in April 2014.

Budget Expenditures

 Final Report

Go To UC Berkeley Refills Not Landfills Campaign

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.