Coronavirus Information from Administration & Finance

Join the Movement

There are countless easy changes to make and ways to get involved in zero waste efforts. Keep reading to learn more about ways to join the movement and reduce your environmental impact!

Host a Zero Waste Event

  • Request the zero waste option from Campus Catering
  • Plan for reusable or compostable utensils, dishes, and cups
  • Refuse individually packaged products (chips, candy bars, sugar, butter, condiments)
  • Order recycling and composting bins provided by Cal Poly event staff
  • Request Zero Waste Ambassador support at your event by emailing

Events at Cal Poly are responsible for a large portion of our consumer waste stream. Events typically require disposable products to serve food and drinks. Ideally these disposable items and accompanying food waste would be diverted to compost or recycling bins, but in many cases the proper preperation and education is not set in place in advance. It is for this reason that we have developed a step-by-step guide for hosting a zero waste event.

Download Zero Waste Event Guide here

Become a Zero Waste Ambassador

In 2017, Cal Poly inaugurated the Zero Waste Ambassadors Program, where students volunteer at campus events to instruct their peers on how to recycle and compost properly. In 2017/18, with nearly 150 volunteers, the program reached more than 14,200 attendees at 25 events over seven months and diverted over 3 tons of waste from the landfill. To volunteer as a Zero Waste Ambassador, contact or complete this interest form.

Join Student Initiatives

Past initiatives have included:

  • Zero Waste Ambassadors
  • Improved 3D signage at the Avenue
  • Tabling at events across campus to educate students
  • New Recycling Across America standardized signage pilot funded by the Zero Waste Club
  • Zero Waste Ambassadors Volunteers
  • Recyclemania
  • CP Thrift

Future initiatives include a material reuse depot on campus and a drive to eliminate single-use bottled water and plastic bags from all campus locations. There are many ways that you can participate and support this effort.

Purchase Sustainably

In November of 2017, the California State University System and Staples Business Advantage announced the Sustainable Auto-Sub program. Conventional office supplies commonly purchased across the CSU will be automatically substituted with more sustainable items that meet the same need, such as high recycled content paper and refillable pens and markers. Those sustainable items will now be the default when CSU employees shop on the Staples Business Advantage program.

Use Campus Surplus

To encourage reuse of furniture, equipment, and other materials, Cal Poly operates an online surplus program that gathers materials from offices when they are no longer needed, and distributes them, free of charge, to other campus departments.  Items which are not reused on campus are offered through an  on line surplus equipment sale. The Public Surplus auction site is used to resell surplus equipment such as computers, furniture, lab equipment, light fixtures, tools, vehicles, audio/video equipment, and unclaimed lost and found items.  The program generates approximately $10,000 per month in revenue, which is reinvested in recycling and other sustainability efforts at Cal Poly. To learn more visit the Cal Poly Moving and Surplus site.