With a student body of over 21,000, UCSB’s production and treatment of waste is an extremely significant and highly relevant issue. Today, some of the most pressing environmental issues revolve around waste, in terms of production, consumption and the methods of treatment applied afterwards. UCSB’s Zero Waste Committee (ZWC) was formed after the success of the 2012 Compost Pilot Project. It continues in its endeavor to ensure that all waste products are recycled or composted by 2020, aiding UCSB in reaching the UC system-wide goal of zero waste by 2020. Waste is a broad idea discussed in terms of recycling, electricity, water consumption, composting, etc., all of which are important aspects of the university.

We are doing our part as individuals as well as a student organization to ensure that our peers, professors, and administrators are educated on the topic of sustainable waste practices both on campus and in their own homes.

The ZWC is comprised of a group of enthusiastic students sharing a variety of interests and experience relating to the environment. From researching the nutritional value of insects as a solution to future sustainable sources of food, to encouraging stores to switch from single-use plastics to sustainable alternatives, or educating students and faculty about composting benefits, the members of the ZWC all share a mutual passion of being environmentally conscious and inspiring UCSB do the same. As members of the ZWC, we harness our power as UC students to create a positive, lasting change in producing sustainable models and habits.

The ZWC’s next pilot project coming up in Spring Quarter hones in on the potential of composting single-use paper. The goal after a successful pilot is to make paper-towel composting a universal practice across campus in order to decrease greenhouse emissions.  In addition, we are looking toward widening our range of a “zero-waste” focus by encompassing other areas of waste: energy, water, and transportation practices.

The ZWC is a friendly environment that is always open to new members and ideas! If you have any thoughts to further UCSB’s success in achieving its goal of zero waste by 2020, or like listening to compost jokes, then come and check out our weekly meetings on Thursdays at 5 pm in SRB Room 1103.

Please check out (and like!) our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/UCSB-Zero-Waste-Committee

Peace, Love, and Composting,

~The ZWC

By Izzy Parnell-Wolfe, proud member of Zero Waste Committee