The SERC Green Team works on a variety of projects to contribute toward the University of California’s Zero Waste by 2020 goals, specifically focusing on efforts to implement the campus’ Single-Use Plastic Elimination by 2030 Policy. CALPIRG’s Plastic-Free Seas Campaign worked closely with many campus stakeholders to develop this policy, which passed unanimously through the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability on March 10 and was endorsed by Chancellor Christ on March 12. This paved the way for the most ambitious institutional ban of single-use plastic ever, applicable to all purchases made by campus, third-party vendors, contractors, sponsors, and partners intended for sale or distribution on or on behalf of the UC Berkeley campus. SERC’s Green Team has worked with Cal Zero Waste and the Office of Sustainability to draft a policy roadmap that outlines how to achieve this ambitious target, complete with sector-specific programs and timelines.
During the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters, SERC’s Green Team has focused on eliminating non-essential single-use plastics in the following sectors:
The Food Service Sector of the SERC Green Team is committed to assisting UC Berkeley policies and organizations in creating a zero-waste and environmentally conscious campus. We focus on reducing or eliminating plastic waste involved in any instances related to food, such as handling, serving, consumption, and disposal. Our goals this semester include conducting waste audits, facilitating educational tabling and events, and supporting local projects (e.g., Foodware).
As part of SERC’s Zero Waste Green Team, the Athletics Team partners with Cal Zero Waste and Cal Athletics to ensure we assist our campus’ waste diversion efforts. We research, identify, propose, and implement sustainability practices within Cal Athletics; thereby supporting the efforts of the Zero Waste Research Center (ZWRC). Our focus area primarily includes pre-game activities, such as collaborating with concessions to ensure all items sold are compostable or recyclable, game day practices such as student “trash talkers” who will be assisting fans with waste diversion and sorting, and incorporate educational tabling throughout the large-scale football and basketball games held on campus.
Each football and basketball season, Cal participates in the PAC-12 Zero Waste Bowl (football) and PAC-12 Road to Zero Waste Competitions (basketball). All PAC-12 campuses compete against each other in zero waste and are ranked in a few categories: Waste Diversion, Partnerships, and Innovation.
Registered Student Organizations (RSOs):
Through the SERC Green Team, the RSO sub-group focuses on researching and implementing zero-waste strategies into the operations of the Registered Student Organizations on campus.
Our first initiative is including environmental education and single-use plastic elimination strategies into the mandatory bCourse training that all RSOs must take each year. This project is on track to launch by the 2023-2034 academic year.
Through our second initiative, the SERC Event Certification, we hope to encourage and reward those organizations who are taking extra steps to make their operations and events environmentally conscious. Our group will audit the event to ensure zero-waste and environmental justice strategies are in place. Once certified, clubs are rewarded financially and through other means. Clubs can apply for each event they hold to be certified. This project is on the research and development stage, and is on track to launch by the end of the 2023 – 2024 academic year.
In collaboration with the Zero Waste Green Team, the Amazon Project Team has proposed creating an updated contract with the Amazon Hub on campus to significantly reduce the amount of plastic pollution being produced. This is crucial to implement as UC Berkeley has committed to banning all non-essential single-use plastics from campus by 2030. Our team will research, identify, propose, and implement sustainable alternatives as well as collaborate with existing organizations on campus; like the ASUC Eco Office’s Department of Unsustainable Partnerships.
SERC’s Green Team recruits members on a semesterly basis through the SERC Membership Program. However, if you are interested in getting involved or collaborating, please contact Kat Nguyen (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Anjika Morari (email@example.com)!