88% of Waste Diverted from Landfill at OPERS Fall Festival

OPERS kicked off the year in support of the Chancellor's Sustainability Challenge to Reduce Waste by working to make the 2013 Fall Festival a "ZERO WASTE" event.

November 07, 2013

Student volunteers working as "Trash Talkers" to educate Fall Festival participants on how to sort waste at the recycling stations.

This was a collaborative effort with OPERS, Dining Services, the Sustainability Office, and the Recycling Program in Physical Plant. Since so many new students attend the Fall Festival, it is a unique opportunity to educate each other about what it means to be a Slug at UCSC. All these departments worked to integrate "making environmentally friendly choices" in the outreach to new students. UCSC has a goal of reaching Zero Waste by the year 2020, and large-scale events can unfortunately be large producers of waste on campus. A Zero Waste event at UCSC is defined as a one-time program that is planned in a way to reduce waste as much as possible by making conservative procurement decisions, communicating with collaborating parties and vendors about allowable materials, and including composting and recycling collection the day of the event to minimize trash production. By meeting this challenge head on and endeavoring to make the Fall Festival a Zero Waste event, we continue the UCSC tradition of being ahead of the curve and providing pioneering leadership. At the 2012 Fall Festival, all waste was sorted and weighed for the first time at this event. This provided a baseline measurement for future comparison. This year, all waste was sorted and weighed again and the measurements below from both years show how waste was monitored and where there were areas of improvement. In general, the total amount of waste generated by the entire event was reduced. The Fall Festvail was larger with more people attending, but less waste was produced. In addition, the highest percentage of waste for both years was compostable. This is only made possible by cooperation and engagement from all Fall Festival participants. The end result is a model of a more sustainable way of living to help create a healthy and thriving campus and community. 

2012 Fall Festival

Total attendance approximately 5,640.

Meals served by Dining Services - 3,960.

Number of groups tabling - 210

Total waste generated by the event - 2,301 lbs.

  • 1755 lbs. compost = 76%
  • 197.5 lbs. trash = 9%
  • 181.5 lbs. recycling = 8%
  • 167.5 lbs. cardboard = 7%

2013 Fall Festival

Total attendance approximately 6,217

Meals served by Dining Services - 4,417

Number of groups tabling - 225

Total waste generated by the event - 1,945 lbs.

  • 1437.8 lbs. compost = 74%
  • 231.2 lbs. trash = 12%
  • 130 lbs. cardboard = 7%
  • 85.3 lbs. recycling - containers = 4%
  • 62.2 lbs. recycling - paper = 3%