Compost Alliance- Institutionalizing In-House Composting at Cal

Project Leads: Annie Gorden, Anna Szendrenyi, Aspen Flynn, Evelyn Hammid, Amanda Atkinson,  Amaia Schultz, Pamela Durr, Brian Gialketsis, Paul D'Eredita, Lin King

Sponsor: Compost Alliance, Campus Recycling and Refuse Services

TGIF Grant: $40,270

Project Theme: Waste Reduction

Project Location

2012 Application Submission

Application Metrics

Status: Complete

Project Description: The grant will assist Compost Alliance in continuing compost implementation within campus buildings in order to reach "critical mass" and work with campus officials to institutionalize composting as an in-house operation. This project is a continuation of the 2011 TGIF Grant Compost Alliance- Bringing Compost to Campus Buildings.

Goals: Focus on the significant expansion of compost collection systems into many more buildings as well as the institutionalization of the Compost Alliance program within PP-CS and CRRS. Meet with building managers and custodians to garner support and understand their particular needs and inputs with regards to a compost program. Conduct preliminary waste audit and assessment. Implement compost system by working closely with staff and custodians and placing compost bins and signage in restrooms, kitchenettes, and common areas. Conduct education and outreach for building occupants and staff supporting the composting efforts.

2013 Project Poster

Compost Alliance is currently working in the following  campus buildings:

  1. 2000 Carleton
  2. Architecture and Engineering
  3. Barrows
  4. California Hall
  5. Durant Hall
  6. Energy Biosciences Building
  7. Goldman School of Public Policy
  8. Haas School of Business
  9. Hearst Gym & Annex
  10. International House
  11. Li Ka Shing
  12. Mulford
  13. Richmond Field Station
  14. Sproul Hall
  15. Stanley
  16. Sutardja Dai
  17. University Hall
  18. Wurster 

2012-2013 Accomplishments
  • Compost Alliance updated bins and signage in University Hall, Barrows Hall, Goldman School of Public Policy and Haas School of Business.
  • Created and posted post-implementation newsletters in buildings with composting (A&E, Barrows, California Hall, GSPP, Haas, Mulford, Sproul Hall, Stanley, University Hall and Wurster).
  • Tabled in Wurster and Barrows with an interactive waste sorting game.
  • Presentedwaste education at Energy Biosciences Building, 2000 Carleton, Wurster Hall, and Crossroads.
  • Rolled out 17 composting bins at EBB.
  • Rolled our 8 composting bins at Hearst Gym and Hearst Annex.
  • Rolled out 1 composting Peet's Coffee at Crossroads Dining Commons.
  • Converted 59 existing bins into paper towel compost bins at International House.
  • Coordinated compost bag costs and logistics with PP-CS.
  • Monitored the waste practices at Crossroads.
  • Assisted GO! Team with composting in I-House.
  • Researching potential for paper towel composting in additional campus restrooms and kitchenettes.
  • Participated in the March Zero Waste Week by holding a composting demonstration.
  • Presented at the 2013 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

Compost Alliance plans to expand existing compost services in the following buildings in 2013-2014:
  1. Cory
  2. Haas School of Business
  3. Lawrence Hall of Science
  4. Warren
  5. Wurster 
Timeline of Accomplishments and Challenges
June 2012 Implemented composting in Stanley Hall.
July 2012 Received news that implementing composting in additional buildings will not be possible until the Senior Associate Director of Operations position is filled.
August 2012 Continued to support existing composting programs, remained in contact with building managers interested in implementing composting.
September 2012 Hired and trained two Program Assistants: Evelyn Hammid and Aspen Flynn, conducted a surge of University Hall.
October 2012 Rolled out composting at Richmond Field Station headquarters, conducted surges of Barrows Hall and Haas School of Business.
November 2012 Created and distributed newsletters in buildings with composting, tabled in Wurster and Barrows, delivered a letter of support for composting to the Chancellor, began conducting regular walkthroughs of Crossroads, conducted surges of Goldman School of Public Policy, began training Aspen and Evelyn to become coordinators.
December 2013 Rolled out composting at the Crossroads Peet's, Anna Szendrenyi and Annie Gorden left Compost Alliance.
January 2013 Met with custodial supervisors, tabled in Wurster, Evelyn continued coordinator training with CRRS staff, Aspen left Compost Alliance
February 2013 Rolled out composting at Energy Biosciences Institute, hosted a food waste reduction event at Crossroads in collaboration with Cal Dining Sustainability Team and BareAbundance, presented on composting at California Hall, began preparing for Hearst Gym and Annex rollout.
March 2013 Rolled out paper towel composting at International House with GO! Team, presented on Compost Alliance at the ESOC DeCal, supported Energy Biosciences Institute with its new composting system, conducted a surge of Stanley Hall, recruited and interviewed candidates for Compost Alliance staff positions.
April 2013 Selected and trained new staff (Amanda Atkinson, Sarah Atkinson, Allison Loux and Pamela Durr), assigned new staff to buildings with composting, rolled out composting at Hearst Gym and Annex, prepared letter in response to Vice Chancellor Denton's letter that postponed campuswide support for composting, tabled at Cal Day.
May 2013 Presented at Wurster and Crossroads on waste streams, began preparing for summer rollouts at Warren Hall and Cory Hall and follow-up rollouts in Wurster, Haas and Lawrence Hall of Science.
Ongoing Provided support as needed and upon request to building managers and custodial services for existing composting programs, collaborated with other CRRS Zero Waste student groups.


  • Compost Alliance's continued support of buildings with composting has diverted over 35 tons of waste from landfills between June 2012 and March 2013.
    • This has saved the campus over $4,550 and has reduced campus carbon dioxide emissions by over 5,110 kilograms.
  • Compost Alliance's current buildings will continue to divert over 3.6 tons of organic waste from landfills every month as long as they continue to compost, resulting in monthly savings of over $468 and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by over 525.6 kilograms monthly.

Achieving Zero Waste at UC Berkeley


Project Photos

Final Report

2013 Fall Progress

  • Hired new Coordinators and Staff Assistants.
  • Residential and Student Service Programs (RSSP)
    • Initial walkthroughs and meetings were completed. Correct stickers and signage were placed on existing bins. The final roll-out will occur late fall semester.
  • Haas Pavilion
    • Compost Alliance assisted with three Haas Pavilion events in September. Work included setting up frames, trash-talking, and emptying over-flowing compost bins. Compost Alliance established a connection with the green team at Haas and the work displayed a need for composting at Haas. Compost Alliance is working with the building manager to pilot composting in the restrooms with a goal to implement composting throughout the whole building in the spring.
  • Hearst Memorial Mining Building
    • The building staff and students are interested in implementing composting within the building. Compost Alliance met with the building manager, the custodial supervisor, and CRRS to develop an implementation timeline.
  • Cory Hall
    • Compost Alliance met with the building manager and added Cory to the list of potential buildings to explore compost implementation.
  • Barrows Hall
    • All classroom trash cans were taken out of the classrooms and centralized Pepsi-funded Max-R bins were installed on the 1st floor. A custodian was hired to assist with emptying the bins mid-day to avoid overflow issues.
  • University Village
    • University Village is in the process of implementing composting with the assistance of a Compost Alliance staff assistant. Compost Alliance tabled and trash-talked at a University Village September community event, educating residents about the new composting and recycling programs.
  • Wurster Hall
    • Restroom composting has been rolled out and has been going smoothly. Some classroom trash bins were taken out of classrooms because centralized bins are being utilized in the hallways and lobby areas, thanks to a 2012 TGIF grant.
  • Stanley Hall
    • Composting program is running smoothly. A slim jim set was placed in the lobby in late August. Larger barrel bins were placed in the restrooms.
  • Warren Hall
    • A composting and recycling program was implemented in late August. Presentations were given to the building occupants and staff prior to the rollout. After the program was underway for a few months, the building occupants requested another refresher presentation from Compost Alliance, which was completed in November.
  • Hearst Gym
    • Composting and recycling were implemented in Hearst Gym. 
  • Zellerbach
    • Composting was implemented in Zellerbach.
  • Lawrence Hall of Science
    • Walkthrough has been completed and implementation was set for late November.
  • Created compost implementation plan and steps with labels for the status of each step:
    1. Pre-rollout
    2. Rollout
    3. Presentations
    4. Assessments (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly)

2014 Spring Progress

  • Residential and Student Services Program (RSSP)
    • The final rollout took place Thursday, November 8th and Friday November 9th. Daily assessments are being carried out and modifications are being made depending on staff requests.
    • Further staff and student education is needed and Compost Alliance is working on presenting during weekly staff meetings.
    • Mini-bins were introduced to the RSSP, along with bathroom composting and centralized composting and recycling.
  • Haas Business School
    • Compost Alliance has been meeting with staff from Haas to explore the possibility of making Haas a Zero Waste Events building. 
  • Hearst Memorial Mining Building
    • Composting and recycling were implemented in the BiD lab at the request of one resident graduate student.
      • Mini-bins and centralized composting and recycling were added to HMMB's BiD lab.
    • Compost has been added to the restrooms.
    • Compost Alliance presented at a Department of Engineering staff meeting late 2013 about the importance of composting. David Culler, the department head of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) showed interest in the program and is responsible for Soda and Cory showing interest in the program.
      • Cory and Soda Halls
        • Cory is interested in composting, but due to the size and diversity of programs within the building, Soda Hall will be used as a pilot.
        • Soda Hall is interested in composting and is willing to take the next steps to implement it. Due to the amount of buildings and projects Compost Alliance has taken on this semester, Soda hall is expected to be implemented between June and August of 2014.
  • Barrows
    • All classroom trash cans were removed from the classrooms and centralized Max-R bins were set on the 1st floor. Initially there were issues with the bins overflowing by the midday, but these issues have been recently resolved by hiring a new custodian who empties the bins midday.
    • A complete walkthrough and analysis of the building was held in late January. 
    • All existing bins in Barrows were accounted for so CRRS can analyze how effluent their programs will be when applied to the entire building.
  • University Village
    • A composting pilot program has been introduced to University Village. Roughly 100 houses have composting and four enclosures have composting bins. University Village wants the program to expand to the entire site, but a waste audit must occur first to determine if the pilot program is effective. The third part vendor that picks up the compost for processing (Recology) has found needles and other sharp items in the compost, which has delayed the program.
  • Wurster Hall
    • Bathrooms have composting, and there is a large Max R in the first floor lobby outside of Ramona's Cafe. A waste audit of the landfill was conducted in January 2014 which found that 51% of Wurster's landfill was compost. To remedy this, more training of students and staff is needed. However, due to the large amount of students that use Wurster and the large turnover of students, conventional training may be inefficient.
  • Stanley Hall
    • Bathrooms, break rooms, kitchenettes, the basement and first floor lobbies have composting. The building is near completion-signs have to be made permanent and some tidying up (matching lids, matching signs) needs to be done.
    • New slim jims were ordered for Stanley to replace damaged or missing bins. After this addition, Stanley was completed.
  • Warren
    • A composting and recycling program was implemented in 2013. Presentations were given to the building occupants and staff right before the rollout. Now that the program has been underway for a few months, the building occupants requested another refresher presentation, which was completed early March. As of 2014, the programs are running smoothly.
  • Hearst Gym
    • Composting and recycling were implemented late 2013. 
  • Calvin Hall
    • Composting and recycling programs were introduced 2013. The program seems to be running smoothly. A waste audit will be conducted Spring 2014 to ensure composting is being utilized.
  • Sproul Hall
    • Composting and recycling were introduced 2013. Due to movement from the Eshleman demolition, various new offices temporarily reside in Sproul Hall. An audit is needed to see how this has affected contamination.
  • Campbell Hall
    • Campbell is interested in implementing composting as it is a new building.
  • Zellerbach
    • Composting and recycling were implemented late 2013. As of 2014, Zellerbach's program is running smoothly.
  • Lawrence Hall of Science
    • A complete walkthrough was completed January 2014, which documented the locations and count of all existed bins.
    • A training presentation was done for a portion of the LHS staff January 2014. 
    • Rollout was completed the week of March 10th.
  • Haviland
    • A student in Haviland contacted Compost Alliance late 2013.
    • rogram is expected to be rolled out April 2014.
  • Boalt Hall
    • Recycling has been implemented.
    • Composting implementation date is set forMay/Summer 2014.
  • Giannini Hall
    • Walthroughs were conducted.
    • A pre-implementation audit of Giannini's waste is being scheduled. Once completed the rollout of composting and recycling can be implemented.
    • Rollout is scheduled for April 2014.
  • South Hall
    • Program set to roll out May/Summer 2014
  • Boalt Law School
    • New signage will be made for Boalt's Cafe Zebb.

Next Steps:
The new CRRS website is coming soon, which features a section for Compost Alliance.
During spring semester 2014, Compost Alliance will be Implementing composting in 7 more buildings

  • Lawrence Hall of Science: March 2014
  • Giannini Hall: March 2014
  • Haviland Hall: April 2014
  • Boalt Hall: May 2014/Summer
  • South Hall: May 2014/Summer
  • Hesse Hall: May 2014/Summer
  • Soda Hall: Summer/August 2014
  • Campbell Hall: August 2014 
Final Report

Check out this resource on composting in your apartment!

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.