Reduce, reuse, and divert our waste to create a responsible, healthy, Zero Waste campus.

What We're Doing

The SAVE waste goals focus on reducing waste sent to landfills, increasing the College's waste diversion rate, purchasing sustainable paper, and hosting more Zero Waste events. Click the tabs below to learn more about our specific waste reduction initiatives. Visit our Annual Report highlight page for an update on goals and achievements. Visit our Resources and Programs page to learn about how you can reduce waste on campus through recycling, composting, and using our "reuse" programs.

Waste Bin Mapping Project

In an effort to reduce waste, the Sustainability Office (SO) in collaboration with Vera Berger '23, Timothy Liu '22, and Ashlee Robinson (University of Redlands '22) mapped out all outdoor waste bins on an interactive GIS map. The map not only offers campus users waste disposal information but also provides a snapshot of Pomona’s waste bin infrastructure, which will inform zero waste planning efforts. For instance, the SO is utilizing map data to relocate waste bins across campus to pair trash and recycling one-to-one and to identify optimal locations for the bins.

Zero Waste Dining

In Fall 2021, Dining Services piloted a zero-waste experience in the dining halls, Coop Fountain, and Café 47 by prioritizing reusable "Greenboxes" and cups for to-go orders. When reusable are not possible, the fiber-based takeout containers and napkins can be composted.

Zero Waste Commencement Initiative

Abby Lewis (PO'19) at Pomona College's first ever zero-waste commencement
Abby Lewis (PO'19) at Pomona College's first ever Zero Waste Commencement.

In 2018, Abby Lewis (PO'19) launched Pomona's first ever zero-waste commencement. Funded by the President's Sustainability Fund, Abby worked with Pomona's catering management on issues which include: choosing certain papers, compostable utensils, and proposing reusable sugar containers instead of packets. Disposable products were made from either corn starch or recycled paper, and nearly all food waste was diverted to either compost or recycling.

Greenware* and Cookware Reusable Event Kits

Reusable plate, cup, bowl, and utensils.
Greenware is available for free checkout for campus events.

Greenware* event kits provide reusable plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery, along with a compost bucket. Cookware kits have common cooking items, such as pots, pans, bowls, and measuring cups. Both kits are custom-sized and checked out to students, staff, and faculty for campus events. Order your reusable Greenware and Cookware kits here.

*The Greenware program is currently closed due to COVID-19 health restrictions and limited staff in Dining. We hope to reopen the program in fall 2022.


Recoop Web Banner
ReCoop keeps tons of left-behind items out of the landfill each year.

This student-run program promotes reuse and responsibility for items on campus. Diverting over 10 tons each year, this program collects items left behind and discarded by students during move-out weekend and recycles them back in a reuse sale in the fall.

ReCoop Office Program

Departments and offices on campus can now easily exchange unwanted office supplies and furniture through an extension of the ReCoop Program. Contact the Sustainability Office for current inventory.


Map of compost tumbler locations on campus.
Deposit your food waste in one of our outdoor tumblers. The Farm creates compost and uses it as a soil additive. Check out the current locations via our digital map.

Compostable waste from the dining halls is processed two ways on campus. Food scraps from the kitchen are picked up by student compost drivers and taken to the on-campus Organic Farm. Food waste sorted at the dish return station is picked up by the City of Claremont and taken to an organic, windrow-style facility in Victorville.

Compostable Items:

  • ONLY food waste (meat, dairy, vegetables, fruits, coffee grounds)
  • NO paper-based products (napkins, paper bowls, paper straws)
  • NO plant-based plastic items (utensils, hot/iced drink cups, lids)

Food Recovery

Leftover prepared food from the dining halls is donated to local shelters and charitable organizations by the student-run Food Recovery Network. Pomona College is one of the founding members of the National Food Recovery Network!

E-waste, Ink & Toner Recycling, and Hazardous Waste

The College's electronic waste is handled by a certified and approved e-waste handler with verified appropriate practices. Please bring e-waste to the Sustainability Office for proper disposal.

Batteries, CFL bulbs, ink/toner, and other hazardous wastes are disposed of with an approved handler and outreach is conducted on campus to reduce inappropriate disposal. Please bring hazardous waste to the Smith Campus Center Mailroom or to the Sustainability Office for proper disposal.