Berkeley Art Studio Clay Recycling Project

Project Lead: Katelyn Nomura-Weingrow, Vanessa DeTullio

Sponsor: Berkeley Art Studio 

TGIF Grant: $6,434

Project Theme: Waste Reduction

Project Location: Berkeley Art Studio 

2015 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: The Berkeley Art Studio has run a robust and well-respected ceramics program throughout its history. We have over 1,300 students participate in our ceramics program annually. These 1,300 students purchase, create artwork with, and often discard massive amounts of clay each class session. The Berkeley Art Studio has always recycled discarded clay, reducing our carbon footprint and plastic materials. Though the clay itself is not harmful to the environment (it is just mud after all!) the processing, shipping, and disposal is costly and has a large carbon and plastic footprint. Unfortunately, last summer our trusty pug mill (the machinery used to recycle clay) broke down beyond repair, after decades of daily use, causing the need to purchase a new pug mill. Our recycled clay is sold at a lower cost than our other clays. Now that we will be able to purchase a new pugmill we can sell lower cost clay to students and other art studio members to at a reasonable price where they might not be able to afford it otherwise. Being able to recycle our own clay creates more hours for employment, and of course is friendly to the environment.



Expected or Actual Completion Date

Create PO for pugmill purchase

6/1/2015 (completed)

Order pugmill

7/1/2015 (completed)

Set up electric for pugmill

7/15/2015 (completed)

Receive pugmill

8/1/2015 (completed)

Begin recycling clay

9/15/2015 (completed)

Promote & sell clay


Accomplishments: We ran into many obstacles in receiving our pugmill and getting it set up. Just getting it in our studio was a major accomplishment. We recently recycled some of our first clay and are excited to keep recycling our materials. 
Challenges: We faced several challenges in getting our pugmill. We received our machinery several months late. The company that makes the pugmill had run out of the machines and ended up having to make us one. Once we got the pugmill, it was too short and our electrical box could not handle the power of the pugmill. It took time for UC Berkeley staff to help with these issues but it finally happened.
Timeline Progress: Our whole process was set back several months while the equipment had to be made and delivered to us. We have just recently recycled our first bag of clay and are currently testing its quality.
Budget Update/Expenditures to Date: A PO was created and collected upon by Bailey (manufacturer) for the cost of the pugmill plus shipping. An IOC was created by Operations and paid for to Moving Services for installation costs. 

Qualitative and/or Quantitative Metrics: We currently do not have this information, seeing as we just started using the pugmill and do not yet have numbers or updates in regards to efficiency of recycling.

Education and Outreach: Seeing as we just recently got our machine up and running, our education and outreach in regards to our recycling program has not yet begun. 

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.