SAR Project | 2022

Zero Waste 2022: Examining Contamination in Sorting Waste for Best Zero Waste Practices

A photo of undergraduate students from the UCLA Sustainability Action Research program Zero Waste Team outside of Boelter Hall, preparing to conduct a visual waste audit. Students are smiling, holding grabbers and a sign that says, ‘Zero-Waste Team 2022’.

UCLA has a policy target of hitting 90% waste diversion and 25% waste generation reduction by 2025; however, despite campus-wide educational campaigns, the university still must make substantial progress to meet its current goal. The Office of Sustainability’s released the 2019 – 2021 waste data report provided greater insight into specific areas where the university can improve in waste reduction and diversion. To assist UCLA in reaching its zero waste goals, the Zero Waste team will look at common contamination issues within the tri-stream composting, recycling, and landfill system across campus. Students will audit different waste bins to determine the common culprits of incorrectly sorted waste. The project includes targeted behavioral campaigns via internal newsletters, social media, LED screens, etc. to educate the public on proper sorting practices. The team will also produce models of their findings to inform future zero waste initiatives. By the end of the project, Zero Waste 2022 will determine whether their campaigns/deliverables improved sorting habits at UCLA. 

Pictured Above: Team Members, Taylor Sieverling (she/her), Jinsuh Jung-Aum (she/her), Hennessy Martinez (she/her), Madeline Zhang (she/her), and Mo Sen (she/her). 

Stakeholder: Kikei Wong (Zero Waste Manager, UCLA Facilities Management)

Zero Waste 2022: Final Report & Deliverable

Zero Waste 2022: Final Presentation