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Journey to Zero Waste

Zero Waste Plan

We are in the final stages of developing a Zero Waste Plan for the campus. The document will be posted here once finalized. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please reach out to Stephanie Hebert, Recycling and Sustainability Coordinator at or call 760-750-4625.

Reduce -> Reuse -> Recycle

As of the last 2 years, CSUSM has maintained a recycling rate of approximately 75%.  While we currently meet the Assembly Bill 341 mandate, we are continually looking for opportunities to reduce our impact on local landfills and meet our goal of becoming a Zero Waste campus by 2025.


How can you reduce what you put in the trash?  

The first step is to become an educated consumer and look at the products you purchase.  Is there excess packaging material?  Can you buy a larger container and share with a friend?  Buy items made of quality material instead of disposalable or one time use items.


Next is evaluating what you put in the trash.

Is the item or product still usable?  Can the item be donated?  Is the item repairable?

During Move-Out in May 2016 UVA & The Quad donated over 1,400 lbs in non-perishable food. In addition, they donated over 2,200 lbs of used goods bringing the total to nearly 3,700 lbs of donations!


Finally, familiarize yourself with services your local waste collection company provides. 

Are recyclable items being placed in the trash? Our newest recyclable material on campus is - Paper Cups & we use a lot of them here.  Make sure you toss your plastic and paper cups in our blue recycle bins.

Recycling is picked up across campus taken to the recycling center, hand sorted, and then picked up by EDCO.

As a campus, our next major step in recycling is preemptively achieving AB 1826; a phased implementation to removing organic material (compost) from landfill disposals.  We are currently working with our waste hauler to develop a large scale program.  In the interim, we will continue to compost all coffee grounds and pre-consumer food waste from the USU.  In 2016 this averaged over 600 pounds a week of material.

In February 2016, we teamed with TerraCycle to discard our cigarette waste.  The ash and tobacco are converted to compost while the remaining material is turned into hard plastic for industrial uses.  For every pound of cigarette waste we turn in, $1.00 is donated to the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.  Since we started the program we have donated over 90 pounds of cigarette waste.

Below are pictures from our annual Thank You for Recycling Day event held each October.

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