Waste Reduction

Cal Dining is committed to actively engaging in practices that reduce both solid waste and food waste in our operations. We are dedicated to finding solutions using the following food waste and solid waste hierarchies.


Bulk Bins 

Implemented in Fall 2015, the Bulk Bins in Bear Market, Cub Market and the Golden Bear Produce Stand offer nutritious snack options without the overuse of packaging. The Bulk Bin project is a student- led initiative funded by TGIF- The Green Initiative Fund.

Food Donations

Cal Dining has partnered with the Student Parent Association for Recruitment & Retention (SPARR) and Copia to donate overproduced food to people in need. SPARR is an organization of UC Berkeley student parents who are dedicated to providing access to higher education for underserved, nontraditional and underrepresented students. Food is donated each night after dinner service.

Weigh Your Waste

Students are encouraged to take a reasonable amount of food in our all-you-care-to-eat dining halls to reduce the environmental impact of food waste. Cal Dining’s Sustainability Coordinators host weigh-your-waste events each semester in the dining halls. Check out how we make it happen! 


Chews to Reuse 

Reusable containers are available at each of the four resident halls so our guests may choose to take their food to-go. Participation in the program requires a one- time payment of 5 points (or $5.00). Chews to Reuse was a student led initiative Learn more about our Chews to Reuse program here.

Refills Not Landfills

Refills Not Landfills promotes the use of reusable beverage containers around campus. Our guests receive a 25 cent discount for bringing their own mug to our retail locations. Grab a Refills not Landfills stamp card at one of our retail locations and for every 4 coffee drinks purchases using a reusable mug, you will get the 5th free! The Refills Not Landfills program is a partnership between Cal Dining, SERC, and Cal Zero Waste and is supported by funding from The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF).

Get spotted on campus by a sustainability coordinator with your reusable mug, and you will receive a Spot-a-Mug coupon for free beverage with your reusable mug!


Cal Dining partners with Cal Zero Waste to compost and recycle in each of our dining facilities. They work with Cal Dining Sustainability coordinators to train our staff, students, and guests on proper waste sorting practices. 

Compost Program

Cal Dining is proud to work with Republic Services in Richmond to “close the loop” and divert our waste away from a landfill to create fertile, rich soil. Our To-Go containers are made from bagasse (the crushed, leftover canes from sugarcane plants). Compost bins are located across campus and we strongly encourage you to take your empty To-Go containers and pizza boxes to one of our composting centers. Composting centers for the resident halls are available in the following locations:

  • Unit 1 Central Building Lobby (Outside of Academic Services Center)
  • Lobbies and kitchenettes of all Unit 1 buildings (CN, CH, DE, FR, PU, SL)
  • Foothill Loading Dock (on Hearst St.)
  • Left of the office at Foothill Building 4 (Administrative Office)


Cal Dining partners with Filta to recycle our used cooking oil. Filta collects the waste oil and converts it into biodiesel, reducing both waste and emissions on the road.  


Visit the SERC blog for more updates from the Cal Dining Sustainability Team! 
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