CSULB's new program to eliminate campus waste by 2030!
What is Waste Not?
Waste Not is CSULB’s new waste diversion program designed to help the university achieve its goal of becoming a zero waste campus (90% diversion rate) by 2030. Founded on the principle of “waste not, want not,” this philosophy aims to promote policies and programs that reduce wasteful practices on campus while simultaneously diverting more material from landfill by introducing new composting and mixed recycling streams into our current waste management system.
The program will be implemented in four phases over a three-year period, starting with the University Library as the first official zero waste building on campus. As part of Waste Not's implementation schedule, new Zero Waste Stations will replace and/or enhance the current waste bins found inside and outside classroom buildings, office/department spaces and study areas. Each station consists of a three-bin sorting system for:
This combined systems approach will allow for more than 90% of material currently wasted to be diverted through the new compost and mixed recycling streams. By going zero waste, CSULB will be well on its way to reducing its carbon footprint and moving us one step closer to achieving climate neutrality!
What is "Zero Waste"?
According to the Zero Waste International Alliance, zero waste is a goal that aims to eliminate the amount of waste generated by drawing inspiration from similar processes that exist in nature, where all resources are reused, returned, or recycled.
Using these sustainable natural cycles as a framework, zero waste systematically eliminates the volume and toxicity of discarded materials and helps recover and conserve natural resources by diverting their routes from the landfill or incinerator.
Although recycling and composting do indeed divert a significant amount of the waste we generate each day, they are not the most imporant pieces in the zero waste puzzle. Zero waste aims to place a higher priority on rethinking processes and products, reducing the amount of products we consume in the first place, and finding creative ways to re-use what we already have (as show below in the Zero Waste Hierarchy):
Zero Waste Hierarchy
Why Go Zero Waste?
We live on a finite planet with finite resources, yet we continue to operate in a linear system of extraction, use and disposal that produces a great amount of unnecessary waste. Did you know that the average Californian generated 35.2 million tons of material in 2016? That's about 6 pounds/person/day! Although it may seem difficult at first to throw out our "throw away" mentality, it's a crucial step for moving towards a more sustainable, healthier future.
This is why zero waste is so important. As we continue to use up our limited natural resources and generate waste that could have otherwise been diverted, less will be available for future generations (and us!). Going zero waste will not only help conserve and recover these resources as they become scarce, but it will also help CSULB lower its carbon footprint and meet its goal of achieving climate neutrality as outlined in the CSU Sustainability Policy and Climate Commitment.
Waste Not — Three ways to sort...one way to make a big difference!
Meet the New Zero Waste Stations!
To help implement the Waste Not program, Zero Waste Stations will be installed inside and outside of all campus buildings. These stations will help divert waste from going into the landfill by adding two new streams to all trash receptacles: mixed recycling and compost.
Interior bins include:
Exterior Bins* include:
*Images are for representation purposes. Final bin design and signage are currently in development.
Another big change you’ll notice is the removal of all deskside trash bins from classroom and office spaces. Centrally located Zero Waste Stations will serve as the main hubs for waste disposal, while all deskside recycling bins will be upgraded with a mini-bin for trash items. Note: Avoid placing wet, sticky items in your new mini-bin as these will not be lined and are emptied once a week by Custodial Services. See the FAQ's section below to learn how to take care of your new mini-bin.
How to Properly Sort Your Waste
With the new Zero Waste Stations, you will be able to separate your waste in any of the three bins: Compost for all organic waste, Mixed Recycling for recyclables, or Landfill│Trash for items that cannot be recycled or composted. Each bin is labeled and includes helpful signage with photos and a list of acceptable items to make sorting as easy as 1-2-3.
Still not sure where your trash goes? Check out this quick sorting guide to get started:
What is Waste Not?
Waste Not is CSULB’s new waste reduction and diversion program designed to help the university achieve its goal of becoming a zero waste campus (90% diversion rate) by 2030. Founded on the principle of “waste not, want not,” the program will promote policies and programs that reduce wasteful practices on campus while simulatanously diverting more material from landfill by introducing newcomposting and mixed recycling streams into our current waste management system.
What is zero waste?
Zero waste is a goal or strategy that aims to eliminate the amount of waste generated by drawing inspiration from similar processes that exist in nature, where all resources are reused, returned, or recycled.
Why is zero waste important?
We live on a finite planet with finite resources, yet we operate in a linear system of extraction, use and disposal that produces a great amount of unnecessary waste. Going zero waste will help us conserve and recover natural resources as they become scarce, and will help CSULB lower its carbon footprint and meet its goal of achieving climate neutrality.
Where can I find the new 3-stream Zero Waste Stations?
The new 3-stream bins will be added gradually across campus starting with the Library as the first building to implement the Waste Not program. You will start to see more Zero Waste Stations popping up in building main hallways and corridors, select breakrooms and central exterior locations.
What goes in the COMPOST bin?
All food waste and wet/soiled paper goes in the compost bin. Unlike a compost bin you might have at home, animal products such as meat and dairy can go into our compost bins because the material will be sent to an industrial composting facility for processing. At this facility, the organic material collected in the compost bins on campus will be broken down into a nutrient rich soil that can be reused on our campus landscape or local gardens. See the sorting guide above for examples of what can go into the compost bin.
What goes in the MIXED RECYCLING bin?
Glass, plastics (#1 - 7), metal, cardboard, and most clean paper all go into the mixed recycling bins. If paper does not have food waste or liquids on it, it is recycleable. After being collected, the recycling will be hauled to a facility where it will be sorted and processed to be turned into other materials that can be reused. See the sorting guide above for examples of what goes in the blue bin.
What goes in the LANDFILL/TRASH bin?
This bin will be your last resort for those odd materials that cannot be easily processed or recycled, and those which are made of a mix of several different types of materials. Some examples include small plastic utentsils, straws, chip, candy, and granola bar wrappers, polystyrene (a.k.a. Styrofoam), bottle caps, and coffee pods. After being collected, this material will be sent to a landfill or be incineratred. Both of these processes release greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change, generate toxic bi-products, and eliminate the opportunity to reuse or repurpose the materials once they are buried or burned.
Where do I dispose of items that do not belong in the 3-stream bins (i.e. electronics, batteries, etc.)?
You can find where to recycle electronics and other odd materials under the tabs located on the Office of Sustainability’s page for waste reduction.
Can I put paper products in the composting bin?
Paper items that have been contaminated with food such as used napkins and non-wax or plastic coated paper plates/cups can go in the compost bins. If the paper products are clean or unused, they should be recycled.
How can I lead a zero waste lifestyle?
The steps to leading a zero waste lifestyle are rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle. In following these steps, the most important one is to rethink the way you use resources. For example: Rethink whether you really need to buy that new bag or pair of shoes, whether you actually need a lid or straw for your beverage, and if you can do without a bag at the grocery store to carry out a few small items.
For the resources you do need to consume, reducing is the name of the game. For example: Plan your meals ahead and make a shopping list in order to reduce the amount of food that ends up going to waste.
What if I have more questions?
If you have any more questions, comments or concerns, you can contact the Office of Sustainability at:
Office Phone: (562) 985-1939