Sustainability at Chico State

Reduce & Reuse First!!

zero waste stuff
Remember the famous mantra from when you were a kid "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"? The order matters!The first level in the zero waste hierarchy is to rethink and redesign so that waste isn't created in the first place. However, this can take a lot of time and money, which brings us to the next level which is the reduce then reuse. Reducing waste before it even occurs is key to achieving true zero waste. Reusing and repurposing items are a great way to prevent items from ending up in the landfill.

Reducing Your Waste on Campus

After conducting a campus waste audit in 2019, (PDF) it was found that 77% of waste generated on campus were disposable single-use items and originated from off campus.The CSU Sustainability Policy (PDF) (PDF) states that all campuses shall divert 80% of solid waste from landfill by 2020 and move toward zero waste beyond that, we are currently only diverting 30%, which means we still have a long ways to go.

Here are some ways you can reduce your waste on campus:
  • Bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying a single use one - there are hydration stations all around campus to refill your water bottle (If you need to purchase a drink opt for aluminum or glass bottles instead of plastic)
  • With that being said, bring a reusable to-go mug, someplace's on campus will even give you a small discount for bringing your own mug!
  • If you bring food to eat on campus bring it in a reusable container along with a fork or spoon
  • If you are buying food on campus, always keep some portable reusable silverware to avoid the need for a single use fork/spoon. Bonus points: have a cloth napkin too!
  • Wear a reusable cloth mask to campus instead of a disposable one
  • Get some lightly used school supplies from A.S. Sustainability FREE store in BMU 220

Tips for Reducing Waste at Home

reusable produce bag
  1. Save pasta sauce jars (or other food jars) to use as cups or for storing left-overs
  2. Instead of getting rid of those old t-shirts, cut them up to use as rags or tissues
  3. Try making your own cleaning products(opens in new window)! Baking soda and vinegar will clean just about anything!
  4. Buy in bulk! This reduces the waste that comes with buying multiple individually packaged items
  5. Shop second-hand when getting new clothes
  6. Cook more and eat out less!
  7. Consider composting your food waste 
  8. Rewear your clothes a few times before washing them 
  9. Do your laundry for a shorter cycle with cold water, your clothes will be just as clean (Bonus points: try air drying your clothes)
Here is a more extensive list of how you can reduce your waste at home!(opens in new window)