By Elias Platte Bermeo

Grad Housing is hitting the ground running this quarter. At the end of winter quarter, we were laying the groundwork for our zero waste pilot program and have now put the final pieces together. Last week we met with Daisy, Addae, and Javier to confirm the details of our upcoming waste audit and program kickoff event. We originally planned to conduct the initial waste audit during Week 1 and had talked with Javier about canceling that week’s waste pickup at the Hilgard apartments so we could have a larger sample. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding and the waste was collected, so we had to postpone the audit to Friday of Week 2 in order to have a large enough sample. Our entire team plus Emma, Addae, Jessica and Jennifer from Athens, and representatives from Global Green and EcoSafe will all be at this Friday’s waste audit of landfill and recycling to help us collect baseline data that we can use to measure the progress of the program.

We’re also super excited to announce that the food-scrap caddies, along with recycling and trash bins, have officially been delivered to each unit at both 720 and 824 Hilgard! After we got the food-scrap caddies delivered by EcoSafe on Tuesday, our team worked late into the night to get them ready to be delivered to Hilgard, and Javier and his team took it from there. Now each Hilgard resident should have three separate waste bins, along with an informative graphic that shows what items can and cannot be composted. The trash rooms at each Hilgard complex now each have a green waste bin, a compostable bag dispenser, and signage to clarify how waste should be sorted.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve sent out several outreach emails through Addae to let Hilgard residents know a little bit about the program and how it will help UCLA reach its goal of Zero Waste by 2020. We also created and distributed flyers to each unit in both buildings with information on our kickoff event, which we held this past Wednesday. We provided salad, Diddy Riese cookies, and way more pizza than anticipated thanks to a mix up with Papa John’s! Chris Hunter may or may not now have two entire pizzas at home. All in all, the kickoff went really well and we got to talk to a number of enthusiastic grad students about the program and other ways to be sustainable! Stay tuned for pics of us digging through garbage!