UC's Policy on Sustainable Practices sets a visionary goal of achieving zero waste by 2020, with interim targets of 50% diversion from landfill by 2008 and 75% diversion by 2012. 

As a first step to achieving waste diversion goals, each campus completed a preliminary Integrated Waste Management Plan in June 2007 and began implementing the plans in late 2007. All main campuses now report annually on their waste reduction programs, diversion rates, and plans to reach each of their waste diversion targets.  The next step in UC’s plan is to develop a sustainable foodservice policy to institutionalize current best practices and coordinate efforts throughout the 10 campus system. 

In addition, UC requires ENERGY STAR™ designation in system-wide contracts for all office equipment, including personal computers, copiers, and printers. Every computer and monitor that UC purchases must achieve a minimum Bronze rating under the Electronics Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT™)

All campuses significantly improved their waste diversion rates, with 7 out of 10 campuses surpassing the goal of diverting at least 50% of municipal waste from being sent to landfills.  UCLA showed the most marked improvement – going from a 19% diversion rate to a 52% diversion rate by launching an aggressive recycling program.

UC Davis has created and developed a waste diversion program, R4, which has effectively reduced waste on the Davis campus.  Aggie Stadium has gone zero waste; everything sold at the 10,700 seat multi-use stadium can be recycled or composted.  In June 2006, Davis won the award for Best Practices:  Innovative Waste Reduction.

In efforts to reach a 50% waste diversion goal, UC San Francisco won an award for best practices in innovative waste reduction by composting animal bedding in their research laboratories.  They have also increased composting and recycling efforts in all areas of campus.


Goals are set by the Policy on Sustainable Practices to minimize the amount of waste sent to landfills. Waste diversion goals include 50% by 2008, 75% by 2012, and “Zero waste” by 2020.


The University is leveraging its purchasing power to drive down the cost of environmentally preferable products. For example, under the UC's latest contract for office paper, the cost of paper with 30% post-consumer waste content is the same as the price of virgin paper.


UC Davis has gained much recognition for its strong actions towards waste diversion, achieving 69% waste diversion rate in 2008.

One particular action that's receiving much attention is the R4 program. The R4 recycling program (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rebuy) at UC Davis began in 1990 and is a highlight of the campus waste management program.

The R4 program’s Zero Waste events, in which 94.3% of waste production at nine events has been diverted, have been given an award by the U.S. EPA.

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