Expanding Zero Waste in Residence Halls

Project Lead: Eva Malis, Jean Ji, and Alexandra Lalor

Sponsor: Campus Recycling and Refuse Services 

TGIF Grant: $15,242

Project Theme: Waste Reduction 

Project Location: Clark Kerr Campus, Foothill and Stern residence halls

2015 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: This project will implement a comprehensive zero waste system in the Clark Kerr Campus, Foothill, and Stern residence halls. By installing recycling and composting systems as well as a strong educational campaign, this project will provide residents with the capacity, motivation, and awareness to sort their waste and minimize landfill waste. This project is a continuation of a pilot program funded by a TGIF mini-grant and aims to collaborate with residential and facilities staff from RSSP and CRRS to institutionalize and ensure the smooth functionality of the implemented system.

Goals:  The initiative to expand the zero waste system in the residence halls is invaluable to the UC-wide goal of Zero Waste by 2020. Along with diverting a large portion of the University’s waste, this project fosters a culture of sustainability within the residential community, encouraging new students to adopt responsible waste management practices and participate in our campus sustainability endeavors. This program would also ensure that every UC Berkeley student who lives in the residence halls will leave with knowledge and experience on properly sorting their waste. This project aims to install a system which meets resident's demands for accessible recycling and composting in dorm rooms and common spaces as well as more education about sorting waste. This project is also committed to responding to resident and staff feedback, addressing challenges that arose during the pilot project, and applying operational lessons learned while moving forward.

Accomplishments: The outcomes of the meeting with RSP, RSSP and CRRS (now Cal Zero Waste) representatives were positive. Both Cal Zero Waste and RSSP agree that “Zero Waste by 2020” is an important goal and will collaborate on and work towards. There is now a set deadline that the bins will be implemented in the hillside residence halls (Clark Kerr, Stern, and Foothill) by the start of the Fall semester. Bins for the enclosures at Clark Kerr will be updated to the single toter bins by July so it’s easier to adjust the number of bins available in the enclosures, and the system can be standardized across all residence halls. It was agreed that money will be allocated from Cal Zero Waste and RSSP to fund compost liners/dispensers. The room conditions report will include bin conditions, which hold students accountable for lost or damaged bins. The bin rollout is scheduled for June/July, before the students move in.
Challenges: There was some disagreement about the bin layout system for individual rooms. Instead of the plan the project originally presented, which included keeping the landfill bin and adding in-room paper and compost bins, the representatives present at the meeting prefered the mini-landfill side saddle and mini-paper side saddle attached to a bottles and cans recycling bin. Project will try to re-allocate money within grant to collaborate with Cal Zero Waste and RSSP to find the best bin system. Project will revise the budget to accommodate multiple stakeholder inputs and continue to communicate with these stakeholders about the financial feasibility of the grant.
Timeline Progress:
July 2015: First Planning meeting with all stakeholders
November, 2015: Second Planning meeting with all stakeholders 
December 2015: Compost bins installed in buildings 3, 4 CKC and 9 Foothill
February 2016: Third Planning meeting 
Friday March 4th, 2016: revised budget
Mid-March 2016: connect with RSSP for purchasing plan
June/July 2016: bin system rollout in hillside residence halls and Clark Kerr enclosure changes
Early August 2016: collaborate with RSP about education plan
Budget Update/Expenditures to Date: No money has been spent on the project at this point in time. Budget may be rearranged slightly to find the best bin layout that satisfies all stakeholders.
Education and Outreach materials: Had an informational Facebook group for all interested residents from CKC and Foothill regarding the updates on the pilot compost pails installed in Building 3, 4 of CKC and Building 9 of Foothill. Established partnership with RHA at CKC about educational efforts.

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.