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Waste Efforts

Clean Sweep/ReCoop keeps tons of left-behind items out of the landfill each year.

The Recycling Center in the mail room of the Smith Campus Center provides disposal opportunities for specialized wastes, including batteries.


  • Recycling Center site visits The SIO hosted several trips to the Grand Central Recycling Center in the City of Industry so students could see where their campus recyclables went through the recycling process.
  • Greenware sustainable event kits Greenware event kits provide reusable plates, bowls, cups, and silverware, along with 100% recycled napkins and composting materials. Kits are custom sized and checked out to students, staff, and faculty for campus events. 
  • ReCoop/Clean Sweep This student-run program promotes reuse and responsibility for items on campus. See much more information at the ReCoop website!
  • ReCoopOFFICE program Departments and offices on campus can now easily exchange unwanted office supplies and furniture through an extension of the ReCoop Program. More info is available on the ReCoop website.
  • Waste Audit In Spring 2010, Prof. Char Miller, SIO Director Bowen Close, and five students conducted an independent study course assessing the campus' waste stream, including a waste audit. The group sorted over 400 lbs. of trash and recycling into various categories to see what was going to go the landfill and recycling center. Results included that approximately 40% of what was in the trash (by weight) could have been recycled! See more about the results in their final paper, available here.
  • Composting Compostable wastes are processed at the on-campus Organic Farm. Wastes may be collected by students, offices, or organizations, and the College makes compost buckets available through the sustainability checkout program. These wastes may then be deposited at the Farm or other campus composting sites around campus.
  • Post-consumer composting Diners can now compost vegan food scraps and napkins in compost bins located near the tray return at all three dining halls. 
  • IRN In 2008-09, the College donated 29 tons of used furniture to Managua, Nicaragua.
  • Trayless dining Pomona's dining halls have been trayless since August 2009. Food waste audits conducted in the dining halls in spring and fall 2009 indicate that Pomona diners leave an average of 0.27 lbs of food on their plates at the end of each meal. This number is down 10 percent this fall compared to last spring, a reduction entirely attributable to trayless dining.
  • Student print management Students are limited to a certain value of print quota for using College printers each year. This includes use of the poster printer in the IT lab.
  • Extended computer refresh cycle ITS has extended the cycle of computer replacement from 3 to 4 years, in part to reduce electronic waste.
  • Construction waste diversion During construction and renovation projects, demolition and construction wastes are diverted through reuse, recycling, and donation (e.g. IRN). Diversion rates for projects typically near 75-90%.
  • Food Rescue Leftover prepared food from the dining halls is donated to local shelters and charitable organizations by the student Food Rescue group.
  • Reusable to-go containers In September 2009, Dining Services began charging for their biodegradable disposable to-go food containers ($0.50 per container) and started offering reusable containers. Each student received one container free (with additional costing $6). Students can exchange dirty containers for clean ones upon entering the dining hall.
  • Electronic publications A number of offices have started producing electronic publications instead of printing, including the annual student handbook and the President's Annual Report.
  • Electronic payroll information The Business Office has started providing payroll information electronically whenever an employee doesn't need an actual check.
  • Less frequent printing Starting in 2009, the College Catalog is now printed every two years instead of every year.
  • Recycling Bin stickers and cards The Sustainability Integration Office has distributed stickers (student rooms) and cards [pdf] (staff and faculty) detailing the College's recycling program.