Waste Not


Waste Not logo

CSULB's program to eliminate campus waste by 2030!



Waste Not is a campus-wide program designed to shift the way our campus community thinks about waste, recycling, and disposal. Founded on the principle of “waste not, want not,” this program aims to promote policies and a zero waste culture by focusing on reducing wasteful practices and improving recycling infrastructure across the university.

Avoiding creating waste is always the best option when striving for a zero waste system! But when that isn't possible, it is important to make sure to sort waste correctly so that all recoverable and reusable resources can be diverted from the landfill. 

This is why one focus of the Waste Not program is the installation of "zero waste stations" throughout campus. These consist of recycling bins alongside landfill trash bins as well as compost bins in areas of campus where food is served. Always make sure to read the signage above the bins carefully to avoid improper waste sorting! 

Another focus of Waste Not is education and outreach. This website is designed to provide helpful resources and guidance. You can also request a presentation on the Waste Not program for your group, department, or office, by contacting sustainability@csulb.edu.

With your help, CSULB will move closer to the goal of becoming a zero waste campus! 

According to the Zero Waste International Alliance, “zero waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient, and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for another to use.”  

In nature, there is no such thing as waste. The “waste” from one natural system becomes the fuel for the next, creating a balanced, closed-loop model.  

Using these sustainable natural cycles as a framework, the goal of zero waste is to first re-think the way we design products and consume resources so that we are considering how they can feed back into a closed loop system. Next, we must reduce the amount of resources we consume and find ways to reuse items we already have as much as possible.  

Lastly, although recycling and (industrial) composting do divert resources from the waste stream, these processes require significant amounts of energy to transport and transform the materials, and so they considered the last option prior to disposing of materials landfills and incinerators.

This model is illustrated below in the Zero Waste Hierarchy: 

Zero Waste Hierarchy



Zero Waste Hierarchy


From an operational standpoint, achieving 90% waste diversion from landfill or incinerator is often referred to as achieving "zero waste." 

We live on a planet with a finite amount of resources, yet the majority of our economy relies on a linear system of resource extraction, consumption and disposal that creates a lot of waste while also generating pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Although it may seem inconvenient at first to do away with our "throw away" mentality, it is a crucial step to ensure that we will have a healthier planet and a more sustainable future. 

CSULB’s pursuit of our zero waste goals will require a culture shift for our campus community. Together, we can become better stewards of our planet’s precious resources, while also helping the university move closer to its 2030 carbon neutrality goal outlined in our Climate Commitment


Need some tips for going zero waste? Check out our helpful tips!