Sustainability What You Can Do

Marston Quad view of Big Bridges

You can help us achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Top 7 Green Living Tips

Help Pomona reach our goal of carbon neutrality 2030 by doing your part to live sustainably on campus.

Save Energy

Energy contributes two-thirds of our carbon emissions footprint. Save energy to reduce our impact.

  • Use the heater or AC only when you need it. Adjust your clothing to the weather. Use windows and fans for natural cooling. Close windows when the heat or AC are on. Is the building too hot or too cold? Report it to Facilities.
  • A mini fridge uses the same amount of electricity as a full-sized fridge. Share fridge space with friends, and look for an EnergyStar label when purchasing.
  • Wash on the cold setting and air dry your clothes. The cold setting uses significantly less energy and will also keep your clothes from fading. Borrow a drying rack from the Sustainability Office for free.
  • Turn off your lights when not in use. Use daylighting when you can, or study outside!

Be WaterWise

Indoor plumbing is the biggest water consumer on campus (more than outdoor irrigation).

  • Take shorter and cooler showers. Showers are the largest water user in buildings. Turn the water off when washing your hair or shaving.
  • Turn the faucet off while brushing teeth or lathering soap. Report leaks to Facilities.

Promote ReUse Culture

Pomona produces over 600 tons of waste every year.


The City of Claremont has a comprehensive recycling program. All recyclables should be empty, clean, and dry. The following items are recyclable:

  • Plastics #1 & #2 (e.g., water bottles, milk jugs, laundry detergent; NOT to-go cups, clamshells, or black-colored plastic)
  • Cardboard & paper (NOT egg cartons or paper milk/juice cartons)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Metal cans


Pomona's compost goes to the Organic Farm or the City of Claremont.

  • In the dining halls: compost all food waste (including meat and dairy) plus fiber-based paper compostables (takeout clamshells, napkins, plates) into the bins near the dish return station. The dining hall kitchens also compost all of their fruit and vegetable scraps and leftover food that can't be reused or donated.
  • On-campus: compost fruit and vegetables in one of the compost tumblers located throughout campus. Please do not add meat, diary, or trash. The Farm's compost drivers pick up this compost to supplement their crop soil.
  • In your room: our compost bucket checkout program has been discontinued due to pest issues. Please save your compost scraps for the outdoor tumblers or the dining hall.
  • Learn more from our composting FAQ.

Use Eco Transportation

Transportation accounts for one-third of Pomona's carbon footprint.

  • Rent a free bike for the year from Green Bikes, our student-run bike shop, located in the basement of Norton-Clark III (across from the football field).
  • Bring a bike (or scooter or skateboard!) to campus, and get it assembled or tuned up for free by our Green Bikes mechanics. All labor is free, and you'll only have to pay at cost for necessary parts.
  • Ride the bus for free by picking up a Class Pass from The Connection at Honnold.
  • Get a discount on the Metrolink by submitting your school-related ticket to Human Resources for reimbursement.
  • Leave your car at home, and take Lyft or Uber or rent a car from Zipcar. Zipcars are located on campus at the South Campus Parking Structure, the Harrison lot, and the Tranquada Center lot.
  • Charge an electric vehicle in the South Campus Parking Structure for a reduced rate.

Eat Seasonal, Local and Plant-Based

Eating a balanced, sustainable diet can reduce emissions from livestock animals and transportation.

  • Choose plant-based options from the dining halls. Have a recommendation? Let the dining staff know!
  • Support local farms by shopping at the Claremont Farmers Market, open every Sunday from 8am to 1pm in the Village.

More Things You Can Do on Your Own

Join an Organization

  • The Pomona Organic Farm is a 2.5-acre working farm in the southeast corner of the College campus with fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, chickens, and the Earth Dome. The Farm is open to the public from sunrise to sunset every day and for Volunteer Hours on Saturday from 10am to noon.
  • On the Loose is The Claremont Colleges Outdoors Club, which sponsors trips and events and rents outdoor gear.
  • Sunrise Claremont is a chapter of the national organization that works to fight climate change and create millions of jobs in the process.
  • RegEn (Regenerative Environmentalism) is a group of sustainability leaders across the 5Cs with members from student governments, EcoReps, and sustainability clubs.
  • The ASPC Commissioner of Facilities and the Environment is an elected position that advocates for improvements to campus infrastructure, services, and environment to ensure that they are accessible and relevant for students.

Get a Sustainability Job on Campus

  • The Sustainability Office offers part-time positions during the year and full- or part-time positions during the summer. Positions, listed on Handshake when open, include data collection and analysis, managing the checkout programs, managing the Walker Book Room, publishing the SAVE Annual Report, and project interns. Contact us for more information.
  • EcoReps are peer educators who increase sustainable living on campus through education, awareness, and action.
  • The Green Bikes program offers part-time positions to students with basic experience and knowledge of bikes and bike repair. Open positions will be listed on Handshake.
  • ReCoop provides nearly full-time positions during the Collection (finals week and the week after Commencement) as well as the Sale (during first year and returning students move-in). Open positions will be advertised via email, Chirps, and other communications.
  • The Organic Farm hires students throughout the school year and the summer. Contact the Farm Manager for more information.
  • Many other organizations, such as On The Loose, the Outdoor Education Center and the 5C Environmental Analysis Program, provide employment opportunities throughout the academic year and the summer. Keep an eye out for positions listed on Handshake.

Serve on a Committee

  • The President's Advisory Committee on Sustainability, the Associated Students of Pomona College Food Committee, and other sustainability-related committees often have openings for student, faculty, and staff involvement. Email for more information.
  • The Environmental Quality Committee is chaired by the ASPC Environmental Affairs Commissioner and engages in projects, programs, and events to advocate for campus sustainability. Contact the current Commissioner through the Pomona College Senate.

In the Classroom

If you're looking to write a thesis or a term paper about campus sustainability issues, the Sustainability Office can help you pick a topic and connect you with the information you need. Your academic work might be what the College needs to move forward with a specific problem or technology!
Past academic projects that have helped the College move forward have included:

  • Capacity for photo-voltaic arrays on the roofs of College buildings (including a cost-benefit analysis)
  • Opportunities for heating Haldeman pool using solar hot water heating
  • Thermal imaging of buildings to determine inefficiencies in insulation
  • Designing a "Sustainability Pledge" program for all incoming students
  • Assessing opportunities for cost and energy savings through the use of more efficient lighting solutions

Email for more information about possible topics for projects and papers.

Environmental Analysis Program

The Pomona College Environmental Analysis Program is a formal academic program at the College that offers majors and minors in various academic "tracks," including the sciences, politics, math, philosophy, and other subjects. This program also hosts lectures, film showings, field trips, and other educational events open to the campus community. Contact the Program for more information.

Lectures and events

A variety of educational and extra-curricular organizations host sustainability-related events, including lectures, receptions, conferences, and panel discussions throughout the year. If you have an idea for an event, contact the Sustainability Office for assistance.

In the Bathroom

Reducing Water Use

  • Turn off the faucet while soaping up your hands or scrubbing dishes. The classic water-saving tip.
  • Use the dual flush. If the toilet is dual flush, use it appropriately! Pull the lever up for liquid wastes and push down for solid wastes.

Reducing Energy

  • Reduce the water temperature. It takes a lot of energy to heat up water!
  • Turn off the lights when you leave! Many forget this in bathrooms on campus.
  • Turn down the fridge and defrost often! The higher your fridge setting, the more energy it uses. Defrosting the fridge every couple of months (at least) will also keep your energy use down.

Reducing Waste

  • Use reusable whenever possible. Whether a hand towel for the bathroom and kitchen (keep one in your office if you don't want to share!), reusable plates and mugs and silverware for the kitchen or refilling a reusable handsoap dispenser, there are a lot of ways to reduce waste.
  • Buy in bulk. Coffee, sugar, and other condiments can all be purchased in bulk to cut down on individual packaging.
  • Remember to recycle! Toilet paper cores, paper towels, and empty plastic bottles from shampoo and other bathroom products should be recycled.

Food and Refreshments

  • Buy local, organic, and fair-trade. Coffee, sugar, and many other common kitchen items can be purchased from local businesses and with organic and/or fair trade certifications.

In Your Room


  • Turn off the lights! Easy to do, and to forget.
  • Use daylight whenever possible. No need for lights during the daytime if there's a window nearby!
  • Use more efficient light bulbs. Fluorescent, compact fluorescent (CFLs), LEDs, and other efficient bulbs use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. LEDs are highly efficient and are available for FREE from the Sustainability Office.

Electronics and Appliances

  • Eliminate phantom loads. Almost everything electronic, especially chargers, uses "standby" power as long as it's plugged in, even when turned OFF! Unplug items when not in use, or plug them into a power strip and turn the strip off. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimate that standby power, also known as the "phantom load," is responsible for 5-10% of U.S. residential energy use. If it were eliminated, 30 coal-fired power plants could be shut down for one year!
  • Purchase Energy Star appliances. Energy Star certification is awarded by the EPA to products that use less energy, save money, and are better for the environment. When shopping, look for appliances that bear the Energy Star label. You can also view a list of Energy Star products.
  • Use rechargeable batteries. Save money and reduce resource consumption and hazardous waste. There is also more information on why rechargeable batteries are a better choice.

Using Your Fridge

  • Is your fridge empty? Turn OFF and UNPLUG.
  • Leaving for break? Turn OFF and UNPLUG.
  • Sharing is caring! Share fridges with friends to reduce energy use.
  • Don't put your fridge against the wall - leave the coils in the back open to the air.
  • Clean the coils on the back of the fridge if they look dusty or dirty.
  • Don't open the door! Well, do it as little as possible. The number one variable in fridge energy use is how often you open the door.

Climate Control

  • Understand how the heating or AC unit works in your room: All residence halls use convection heating or heating/AC units. These units heat or cool air by blowing it over pipes filled with hot or cold (50 degree) water. These units recycle air already in the room. In other words, if you want to get fresh air into your room, you'll have to shut off the system and open your door or window!
  • Mudd-Blaisdell, Gibson, Oldenborg: The chillers that cool water for the AC in these dorms are turned off when outside air temperatures fall below 55-65 degrees and the boilers that heat water are turned off when outside air temperatures reach 75-80 degrees. The hallways and common areas in all of these dorms are ventilated with warm or cool fresh air.
  • Harwood, Wig, Lyon, North Campus: The heating in these dorms is only turned on when it is cool outside. When the heat is on in these buildings, residence can turn the knob on their heating unit to open or close the airflow flap. As long as the building heating is on, the units will be warm. Students can ask Maintenance to permanently turn off the heat to their room. Call Maintenance (909-607-2236) if your heater doesn't feel warm in the winter. The hallways and common areas in these dorms (except the short hallways in Clark III and V) are ventilated with warm or cool fresh air.
  • Sontag and Pomona Halls: The heating/cooling only work in these dorms when the windows in the room are shut. Each room has an individual thermostat that can be adjusted. The screen normally displays the actual temperature. In heating mode (when the room temperature is <70 degrees), the setpoint is adjustable between 60 degrees and 68 degrees. When not in the heating mode, the setpoint is adjustable between 76 degrees and 85 degrees.
  • Adjust your clothes, not the thermostat. Socks, hats, and sweaters make very energy-efficient heaters!
  • Use natural airflow to control the climate of your room or office. Use a fan instead of the AC when you can. Close your blinds when it's hot outside. don't leave the window open when the heat or air conditioning is on. Turn off the AC when you leave your room.
  • Call Maintenance (909-607-2236) if the heat or AC in an academic building is too high or too low.


  • Reduce toxins. Check out the array of green cleaners at Trader Joe's, Sprouts, and Ecoterra.
  • Reduce waste. Use cloths and rags instead of paper towels.


  • Conserve trash bags. Dump out the trash, reuse the bag.
  • Fix it instead of buying a new one. Have faith in your or your neighbor's fixing abilities.
  • Buy used. Before buying something new, post an ad on Chirps, check out ReCoop, visit a local thrift store, or browse Craigslist to see if you can get a used item instead.
  • Get free recycled notepads from Duplicating Services (across from Seaver North, just beyond Millikan).

In the Laundry Room

In General

  • Only do laundry when you have full loads. Machines use the same amount of energy no matter how many clothes you put in. Pair up with a friend or roommate if needed.
  • Do laundry less often. Items such as towels, sheets, sweatshirts, and jeans may only need to wash every once in a while.
  • Purchase environmentally friendly laundry products. Look for products that are two or three times concentrated and that have natural ingredients; check for sites that can help you search for good brands!
  • Donate leftover laundry products to ReCoop at the end of the year. Leave them in your laundry room at the end of the school year or bring them to a donation drop-off point.


  • Wash using cold water. When washing on hot, about 90% of the energy used by the washing machine goes to heating the water! Only 10% actually powers the machine's motor. Advances in laundry detergent mean that hot water is no longer integral to getting clothes clean. Coldwater washing also makes your clothes last longer.
  • Use 1/2 the recommended amount of detergent. Since Pomona has efficient, front-loading machines, half or less of the recommended amount of detergent will still get your clothes clean.


  • Air dry your clothes to protect them and to save energy. Shared drying racks are located in many residence hall laundry rooms, and you can also check out a small, foldable rack for use in your room through the Sustainability Office checkout program.
  • Clean out the lint screen before using a dryer. Dirty lint screens cause dryers to use up to 30 percent more energy and can also be a fire hazard.
  • Nix the fabric softener and drying sheets. Fewer chemicals mean a healthier you and a healthier environment.

Waste Disposal

  • Old computers and larger computer accessories (printers, etc.): Throwing away old computers can result in the release of toxins and heavy metals into the environment through landfills or incinerators. Bring your Pomona College computer to ITS, and they will dispose of it properly. If you have a non-College computer, bring it to the Sustainability Office for proper disposal.
  • Smaller computer accessories (mice, keyboards, etc.): These can be recycled either at the Recycling Center near the mailroom area or at the Sustainability Office.
  • Ink and toner cartridges: Recycling ink and tonercartridges keeps toxic materials out of landfills and saves energy because they can be remanufactured. Bring them to the Sustainability Office or dispose of them in the appropriate bin in Smith Campus Center near the mailroom.


  • Think before buying. Do you really need the item, or can you do without it? The planet and your wallet will thank you for reducing your consumption.
  • Fix it before you chuck it. Before buying a new item because the old one is broken, try to fix it yourself, or ask your neighbors if they can help.
  • Buy used. Shop at ReCoop, thrift stores, and garage sales to reuse!
  • BYO Bag. "Paper or plastic? Neither! I choose cloth!" Or just ditch the bag altogether and carry your items.
  • Shop local businesses. The Village and surrounding neighborhoods are full of locally-owned businesses - everything from cleaners ad pharmacies to restaurants and bike shops. Keep local in mind when choosing where to shop!
  • Shop at the Claremont Farmers Markets. Do you go to the store to buy produce, hummus, bread, flowers, honey, jam, or dried fruit? Try buying these things and much more at Claremont's weekly Sunday morning farmers' market in the Village or other markets throughout the year.

Planning Events


  • Host a BYO event. Suggest or require that attendees bring their own dining ware.
  • If using disposable, use biodegradable/compostable. Plates, cups, and utensils made from paper, wood, potato starch, or other biodegradable materials have a lower impact on the waste stream.
  • Buy organic/local/fair trade/seasonal. Buying organic, local, fair trade, and seasonal reduces many of the negative impacts of food production.
  • Buy in bulk and reduce packaging. Stay away from individually-packaged items and reuse plastic bags to buy in bulk. This reduces waste and often cost!
  • Think before buying. Do you really need the item, or can you do without it? The planet and your wallet will thank you for reducing your consumption.


  • Use Greenware. If your event includes food, check out a Greenware Kit! Kits are customized with reusable plates, cups, bowls, utensils, and a compost bucket. Submit an order through the Greenware checkout form or contact for details.
  • Use reusable dishes. Non-disposable dining ware is available by requesting "Correlleware" in the Notes for your request on the CaterTrax website.
  • Request organic/local/fair trade/seasonal.
  • Offer Vegetarian/Vegan options from the Plant Forward menu.
  • For coffee/tea service, request sugar and creamer dispensers. This avoids the waste from individually-packaged items.

Waste Bins

  • Recycle. Request recycling cans for your event using the Work Order request form. Remember to recycle any plastic or glass bottles or aluminum cans. The following items are not recyclable: to-go cups, food-soiled plates, napkins, take-out containers, pizza boxes, and plastic wrap.
  • Compost. Request compost cans for your event using the Work Order request form. Please compost only food waste and fiber-based compostable items (napkins, takeout clamshells, and plates; NOT bioplastics like utensils, to-go cups, or straws).

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Disposal Sites

Recycling Bins

The City of Claremont has co-mingled, single-stream recycling. That means that everything recyclable goes into the same bin, including:

  • Plastics #1-2 (e.g., water bottles, milk jugs, laundry detergent containers; NOT plastic bags or plastic #3-7).
  • Metal (aluminum, steel, and tin, including cans, foil, and trays).
  • Glass (all colors).
  • Paper and cardboard (newspaper, corrugated cardboard, cereal boxes, magazines, telephone books, mailing envelopes with bubble lining, and paper bags; NOT egg cartons or milk/juice cartons).
  • These 12 items should not go in your recycling bin:
    • Clamshells (Hinged and lidded)
    • Plastic Wrap and Bags (Recycle at retail stores)
    • Black Plastic
    • Ceramics/Glassware (No cookware, serving dishes)
    • Hot and Cold Cups (No cup lids or straws)
    • Egg Cartons (No paper, plastic or foam)
    • Frozen Food Boxes
    • Padded Envelopes
    • Takeout Containers (No paper, plastic or foam)
    • Food/Liquids (Empty food/liquids from recyclable containers)
    • Foam (No peanuts, packaging or food trays)
    • Propane Cylinders
Recycling Center

The Smith Campus Center Recycling Center (located in the Mailroom area) and the Sustainability Integration Office (located in the lower level of Harwood) accept hazardous and electronic waste, such as:

  • Batteries
  • Small electronics including cell phones, computer accessories, CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs, and anything that plugs in
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Printer ink and toner cartridges
  • Brita water filter cartridges
  • Cardboard boxes
Donate to ReCoop!

ReCoop collects unwanted or surplus items year-round for the Free Room or ReCoop Office programs. Donated items must be gently used and useful for a current dorm or office. To donate or reserve an item, please email

ReCoop takes:

  • Clothing and costumes
  • Furniture
  • Hangers*
  • Working electronics including lights, fans, extension cords, power strips, kitchen appliances
  • Microwaves and fridges
  • Shoes*
  • Storage bins and water filter pitchers
  • Whiteboards and bulletin boards
  • Binders, notebooks, and other school supplies
  • Toiletries
  • Laundry and cleaning products
  • New and old sheets, bedding, and pillows (these are either cleaned and sold or donated to animal shelters)
  • Old clothing (either donated or turned into rags)

ReCoop does not take:

  • Open food or toiletries
  • Undergarments
  • Used masks
  • Broken items

*Please tape together!

Other: contact to see if ReCoop will take it.

Specific Items

Hazardous Waste and Electronic Waste

Hazardous and electronic wastes should NEVER be placed in normal trash receptacles! Items that can't be disposed of at the SCC Recycling Center (e.g. items too large to fit in these containers) should be brought to the Sustainability Office, located in the lower level of Harwood. Items to dispose of here include:

  • Batteries
  • Broken electronic equipment (e.g. computers, TVs, printers) - if it still works, donate it to ReCoop!
  • CFL bulbs
  • Mini-fridges
  • Motor oil
  • Paint and paint-like products

All medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription, should be disposed of as hazardous waste.

  • Sell your books to other Pomona students at a ReCoop book sale.
  • Donate to the Prison Library Project, which accepts all book donations and sends them to inmates who request them. Drop books off at the Claremont Forum Bookstore in the Claremont Packing House.
  • The Huntley Bookstore buys back books year-round.
  • Selling books online is easy and usually yields the highest prices.
  • Look for book donation boxes for Better World Books and similar organizations around campus at the end of each semester.