Cal Zero Waste FAQs

What goes in each bin?

Why Compost?

Operational Questions

Who do I contact if my office bins are full/overflowing?

If there are bin(s) that need to be serviced in your department, call the Facilities Services desk at (510) 642-1034 or email fs-newsr@berkeley.edu and initiate a work order. 

What are the standards for enclosure waste receptacles on campus?

UC Berkeley's Real Estate Campus Design Standard (page 279-281) provides official information on the University's zero waste enclosure protocol.

My office just implemented the new zero waste system. How does it work?

My department will be hosting an event, is there a way to get extra bins?

To request extra bins for an event, please call the Facilities Services desk at (510) 642-1032 or email fs-newsr@berkeley.edu and refer to our Zero Waste Event page(link is external). To ensure that the bins are serviced and placed properly, contact us at least two weeks prior to the event.

I will be moving out of my department, is there something that I can do with my extra recyclable and reusable office materials?

To request a cart to recycle paper materials please refer to these clean-out cart request guidelines and call the Facilities Services desk at (510) 642-1032 or email fs-newsr@berkeley.edu  to initiate a work order.

How do I request a shredding bin?

The UC Berkeley Mail Services department delivers, services, and manages the Cal Shredding Service program(link is external). Please refer to their website, mailservices.berkeley.edu, for further questions.

Disposal and Recycling Questions

Where do I dispose/recycle electronic waste, batteries, and other related toxic materials?

The UC Berkeley Surplus operation has teamed with the campus' Environmental Health and Safety department to contract with an electronic waste vendor for the demanufacturing of all electronic waste (E-waste) generated by or taken in at the Berkeley campus. This department handles all electronic waste such as computers, televisions, and stereos.

How do I recycle printer and toner cartridges?

UC Berkeley Mailing Services(link is external) handles printer and toner cartridge recycling. Empty cartridges should be placed in their original packaging or appropriate box and placed in your department's outgoing mail. Mail Services will pick them up and recycle them free of charge. For more information please refer to their website: mailservices.berkeley.edu.

Do I have to remove staples, paperclips, binder clips, cellophane, and adhesives before I recycle them?

Staples, cellophane, and adhesives do not need to be removed before depositing them in the mixed paper bin. Paperclips and binder clips should be removed so that they can be reused.

Where does campus waste go?

Where does the landfill waste go after it leaves campus?

Landfill waste is transported to Golden Bear Transfer Station in Richmond. It's then consolidated and hauled by semitrucks to Keller Canyon Landfill near Pittsburg. 

Where does hazardous waste go?

Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S)(link is external) manages all hazardous waste at the Hazardous Materials Facility, located on Frank Schlesinger Way, just east of the Hellman tennis complex. Hazardous waste is collected, labeled, packaged, and then transported to various off campus treatment facilities depending on the waste type.

Where do recycled materials go after they leave campus?

Mixed paper/cardboard goes to the Berkeley Recycling Center / Community Conservation Center located in Berkeley.

Cans and Bottles is serviced by Civicorp and is taken to a Materials Recovery Facility in Oakland.

What happens to compost after it leaves campus?

Food waste is composted all together with other organics such as landscape waste and grass clippings. It is transported to the West Contra Costa Landfill in Richmond, and a small portion of the compost materials are also transported to the City of Berkeley Transfer Station.

Cal Zero Waste Programs

Which policies/initiatives were the most helpful to reduce Berkeley's waste in the last five years?

TGIF (The Green Initiative Fund)(link is external) has been an invaluable resource for our office's waste reduction projects and initiatives over recent years. Please refer to their website for the specific projects that Cal Zero Waste collaborated with them on.

UC Berkeley Waste Metrics

What are UC Berkeley's landfill metrics in recent years?

​2007-2008: 5,995 tons

2008-2009: 6,838 tons

2009-2010: 4,400 tons

2010-2011: 5,001 tons

2011-2012: 4,780 tons

2012-2013: 4,622 tons

2014-2015: 4,462 tons

2015-2016: 4,096 tons

2016-2017: 4,062 tons

2017-2018: 3,718 tons

Why bring your own?

Is biodegradable the same as compostable?

czw_biodegradable_vs_compost