Zero Waste Working Group discusses updates to campus projects

Aslesha Kumar/Staff

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UC Berkeley’s Zero Waste Working Group held its final meeting for the semester Thursday, in which they provided updates on current projects and efforts to reduce waste across campus.

The commission is currently in the process of developing their 2017 Zero Waste Plan, an update to the plan originally developed in 2013. The plan created in 2013 included a general guideline for the projects they sought to implement, according to Lin King, manager of Cal Zero Waste. King also said during the meeting, however, that the plan lacked a budget. King stated he hopes a budget will be incorporated as they begin developing their 2017 Zero Waste Plan.

“We want to create a planning document that works for us, that gives us our path to zero waste, Berkeley’s path to zero waste,” said Kira Stoll, principal planner for long range planning and sustainability, at the meeting. “We can make the plan something that works for us, there isn’t a prescribed way in which we need to do this document.”

Members of the Zero Waste Working Group are also working to have a new building that is being constructed at the Haas School of Business become zero waste certified. The building, known as Connie & Kevin Chou Hall, is expected to open this fall. The project aims to receive zero waste certification for Chou Hall by summer 2018.

The building must be open for a year in order to receive the certification, according to Ryan Peterson, the project lead for Chou Hall’s zero waste certification.

In order to establish Chou Hall as a zero waste building, Peterson explained that it will promote a “pack-in, pack-out” policy, in which those who enter are responsible for exiting with any trash they brought in with them.

“We’re hoping that Chou Hall can be a blueprint for the campus since we have a long way to go in just three years,” Peterson said at the meeting. “We’re hoping that we can set a standard.”

The project also includes a partnership with Chartwells, in which a cafe set to be placed in Chou Hall will take steps to reduce waste as part of the initiative. Peterson indicated that since Chartwells has cafes present on other areas of campus, their work to reduce waste in Chou Hall will also set a precedent for cafes across campus.

At the meeting, Anissa Hagedorn, activation and administrative coordinator of the campus’s University Partnership Program, provided an update on the campus’s partnership with Brita. Through this partnership, all incoming freshmen living in the residential halls will receive a free Brita water bottle, a program that began at the start of the spring semester.

Brita products will also be sold in places across campus including the Student Store and the Pro Shop at the Recreational Sports Facility, Hagedorn said.

Contact Sydney Fix at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sydney_fix.