Your  Account:

Zero Waste Event Planning

At CSUSM, we are striving to create events with as little waste going to the landfill as possible.  This will help us reach our Zero Waste by 2025 goal.  In order to do so, we need our campus community assisting with these efforts since events typically create a lot of waste.  Here are some guidelines to get you started.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Single-use plastic water bottles

As of January 2022, CSUSM is no longer selling or distributing single-use plastic bottles per the CSU Single-Use Plastics Policy.  Alternatives to this include:

  • The availability of reusable Aquafina or Proud Source Aluminum canned water  (for purchase of these, please reach out to Sodexo)
  • Providing water dispensers for event guests to utilize
  • Hydration stations located all throughout campus for guests to refill their own cups or reusable water bottles 

If your department still has single-use plastic water bottles, make sure to use them up in the coming month or two.  Once finished, please switch to an alternative option as mentioned above.


Composting should be a part of all events.  Refer to the lists below to see what can and cannot be composted.

What can be composted:

  • Cooked and uncooked food
  • Bones and meat
  • Used napkins
  • Vegetable and fruit peelings
  • Paper plates and other soiled paper products
  • Coffee grounds & filters

**If it GROWS, it goes**

What cannot be composted:

  • Plastic 1-7
  • Plastic utensils or silverware
  • Soft Plastic 
  • Cups and lids
  • Cans
  • Glass
  • Gloves 
  • Masks
  • Trash 
  • Recycling materials


As you're working with an approved caterer, be mindful of the serviceware being used.  As of January 1, 2019, on-campus events are no longer allowed to use styrofoam cups or plates.  Instead, the order of preference should be as follows:

  • First choice: Paper or bamboo plates and paper cups (compostable)
    • Note: If you are able to use wood or bamboo silverware/utensils, that is ideal (compostable)
  • Second choice: Plastic plates and cups (recyclable)
  • Third choice: Plastic cutlery (landfill)

In addition, at this time we are not able to utilize compostable or biodegradable plates, cups, or silverware. So please do not encourage the use of that with your caterer.  Our waste hauler, EDCO, does not accept this material at this time.