Measures of Success

  • Currently UCSB diverts 69% of its waste stream from the landfill and directs it towards recycling and composting.
  • Composts all pre and post-consumer food waste in all campus dining commons.
  • Offer centralized indoor co-mingled recycling bins.
  • Post-consumer composting bins are available to the public in more then six locations on campus, near major food service locations.
  • The bags given out at the UCSB Bookstore are made of compostable materials.  This is a result of the Plastic Pollution Coalition Campaign.
  • Compostable plates, cups, and cutlery used as the standard for all Special Events Catering events, a service of Housing and Residential Services, and all UCen Catering events.


  • UCSB is moving forward with our goal of being a zero waste campus by 2020.   This and the following goal was established in the UC Policy on Sustainable Practices.
  • By 2020, prohibit the sale, procurement or distribution of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) other than that utilized for laboratory supply or medical packaging and products.

Ongoing Practices and Programs

  • Issues regarding waste management have been prevalent at the state, regional, and university levels in California for quite some time. Waste management issues have led the state of California to pass the Integrated Waste Management Act in 1989, which required state entities to divert 25% of waste from landfills by 1995 and 50% by 2000. The University of California (UC) adopted similar goals in the Policy on Sustainable Practices to divert 50% of municipal solid waste from landfills by 2008, 75% by 2012, and to generate zero waste by 2020. In addition, the UC system requires UC campuses to produce a Waste Diversion Plan that outlines their annual waste data, plans to achieve waste diversion, and zero waste efforts.
  • The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) has been implementing waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting programs and practices for the past two decades. The overarching goal of waste management at UCSB is to become a zero waste campus. UCSB plans to achieve this goal by reducing the amount of waste entering and produced on-campus, as well as ensuring that all waste leaving the University is either reused, recycled, or composted, and not sent to a landfill.

AS Recycling

  • Department of Public Worms – a vermicomposting program for vegetarian food scraps
  • Route Riders-Recycling students who use bicycles with trailers carrying separate bins to service 92 Bertha Trash Clusters (Bertha’s) on-campus
  • Techno Program – The Techno Program targets the reuse and recycling of electronic waste (e-waste) at UCSB
  • Special Events Program – targets waste management at UCSB events

Central Stores

  • Central Stores Surplus Program – The Central Stores’ Surplus Program strives to reuse surplus UCSB items and equipment

Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S)

  • Hazardous Waste Program – EH&S’s Hazardous Waste Program assures compliance with Federal, State, and local hazardous waste regulations through education, campus cooperation, and implementation of practical and efficient policies while providing a cost-effective hazardous waste management program that protects the environment.
  • Surplus Chemical Program – The Surplus Chemical Program is currently a joint operation between EH&S and LabRATS that aims at reducing chemical waste streams and expenditures on chemicals and hazardous waste management.
  • Mercury Thermometer Exchange Program – The Mercury Thermometer Exchange Program aims at reducing the use of mercury on-campus, specifically by removing unneeded mercury devices.

Facilities Management

  • UCSB Reuses – The UCSB Reuses Program encourages the reuse of office trashcan liners. With the University’s expenditures on trash can liners estimated to be $60,000 a year, this program not only reduces the amount of money spent but will also reduce the purchase and encourage the reuse of trashcan liners.
  • UCSB Grounds to Grounds – UCSB Grounds to Grounds is a composting program that focuses on composting coffee grounds on-campus.
  • Subgrade Greenwaste Dumpsters – Facilities Management has recently worked with MarBorg to install subgrade greenwaste dumpsters to facilitate the disposal of greenwaste by landscaping staff.

Housing and Residential Services (H&RS)

  • Dining Commons Waste Management Program – The Dining Commons Waste Management Program consists of standard waste management practices such as glass, paper, and can recycling, but it also includes two notable programs: pre- and post- consumer food waste composting and food oil waste recycling.
  • Move-In & Move-Out – H&RS has encouraged proper recycling practices during residence hall move-in and move-out days by providing students with extra recycling dumpsters and roll-off.
  • Project GIVE – Project GIVE targets the reuse of furniture and items generated from the Move-Out practice.

Other Programs:

  • Compost Pilot Project – The Compost Pilot Project (CPP) is a TGIF funded program that is run as a collaboration between the Sustainability Change Agent Waste Team, A.S. Recycling’s compost staff, PACES, the Environmental Affairs Board, and The Coastal Fund
  • Bicycle Abatement Program- UCSB Campus Service Officers (CSO) – The bike abatement program identifies bikes for removal that have been abandoned on-campus. Once a bike has been identified as abandoned, it will be impounded and held for 90 days before it is auctioned off to students at quarterly bike auction events or listed on for auctioning.
  • Family Housing Compost Program – The fundamental goal of the program is to compost vegetable food waste and landscape waste for use in the Family Gardens instead of requiring transport to an external sorting facility for disposal
  • Sole4Souls – Sole4Souls is an international shoe charity dedicated to providing used shoes to people in need.
  • Bren Hall Vermicomposting – A select group of students that operate year-round are in charge of maintaining the practice and educating the Bren Community
  • Ellison Hall Vermicomposting – This practice originated in the building in 2007 and has since flourished. The Ellison Hall program incorporates the use of composting pails that are conveniently located throughout the building for occupants to use.
  • Bren Hall Costume Swap – The Bren Hall Costume Swap takes place every year shortly after Halloween. Members of the Bren School Sustainability Committee (BSSC) organize the costume swap and encourage members of the Bren Community to participate in exchanging Halloween costumes.
  • Books for Africa – UCSB’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB) partners with the non-profit organization Books for Africa to collect books from the UCSB Community to alleviate the book famine in Africa.
  • Surplus Exchange – Ellison Hall and Earth Research Institute (ERI) – The Surplus Inventory Program allows users to give away or find equipment, supplies, and furniture from the laboratory or office. All items posted here are free to UCSB faculty, staff, and students for use on-campus.
  • Tortilla Composting – Margaret Rankin – hold the USA record for attendance at any type of college soccer match (over 16,000). One of the game traditions is the tossing of tortillas on to the field whenever a home goal is scored (an occasionally when a refereeing decision is not popular). Composting the tortillas thrown at the UCSB Men’s Soccer games is a practice that was started in 2011 by UCSB’s Margaret Rankin, a staff member from the University’s library.


  • Expanding composting bins in public locations on campus.
  • Matching all exterior bins (landfill with a co-mingle bin).
  • Zero Waste Committee established within the Associated Students (student government).
  • Offering zero waste events and partnering with Athletics to offer zero waste games.

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