Santa Clara University


Reduce waste

Ways to take action: Reduce Waste

With only one planet in a closed-loop system (where physical matter can change form, but never exit our world nor disappear completely) and with a finite amount of natural resources and space for landfill waste, we must all reduce our consumption whenever possible.

Ideas for reducing waste:

  • Avoiding one-time use containers like bottled water, take-out containers, and plastic bags
    • Fill up your reusable container at our water bottle filling stations 
    • Join the campus Eco-Tray program
    • Opt for a fabric or canvas tote bag when shopping
  • Choosing products with less packaging
  • Eating only what you can finish or saving leftovers 
    • Try bringing Tupperware-like containers when dining out
  • Reusing or re-purposing what we already have 
    • Check out Pinterest or our boards for inspiration
    • Design an outfit for the annual Eco-Fashion & Art Show with worn-out clothes and  recyclable or waste items
  • Saving money for memories rather than products 
  • Giving the gift of an experience or do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts
  •  Not purchasing unnecessarily or as frequently
    • Clothes: Embrace vintage and hand-me-downs; host a clothing swap party with friends. After the event, donate the rest. And if a new outfit is absolutely needed, go thrift store shopping, which has already-existing, new-to-you clothes. Buying new ones create more demand for companies to supply more. 
    • Electronics: Staying loyal to your current computer, tablet, or phone and not buying the latest every time. Corporations partake in what is known as “planned obsolescense.” This is the intentional production of consumer goods that are designed with nondurable products with hard-to-repair or limited quantity of spare parts. The goal of many corporations is to make as much profit as possible, so they frequently sell a “good product” and promote it as the “better product” in order to phase out the earlier model. Often times, this becomes unnecessary as the first version sufficiently gets the job done.
  • Joining Stop Junk Mail San Jose to keep your mailbox from flooding with unwanted mail and to reduce your household waste


See our Sustainability Update for a monthly “Take Action,” where we offer tips to reduce, reuse, recycle, and respect regarding a myriad of topics. To sign up for this e-newsletter, please email

For questions about waste diversion, visit our FAQ page.

Recent news

Athletics & Recreation Sustainability Initiatives

Athletics & Recreation Sustainability Initiatives

Whether you are a Division I or club sport athlete, an intramural participant or champion, or a Malley Center fitness class attendee, we are all a part of the Bronco family. Athletics and Recreation has undertaken numerous projects to integrate sustainability into the lives of all Bronco athletes. 

The Hoofprint Challenge
In an effort to contribute to the University goal of being a climate-neutral campus by the end of 2015, Campus Recreation developed “The Hoofprint Challenge” last fall in order to offset the greenhouse gas emissions produced by club sports travel in the academic year of 2012-13. Students, faculty, and staff participated by reviewing a list of actions and committing to them every quarter. Actions fall into four categories: Energy Saving, Waste Reduction, Water Conservation, and Miscellaneous Actions. Last month, Broncos reached their goal and depleted 100% of the 263 tons of carbon emitted by airplane, bus and car travel. Check out the tons of carbon breakdown.

Powered by Sweat
The weight room in the Malley Center has 44 pieces of cardiovascular equipment. Of these, 38 are Powered By Sweat. Powered By Sweat machines are off the grid (no cords attached) and the user is the only that makes it go! For example, Campus Recreation purchased two Woodway Curve treadmills in Spring 2012 to add to its Powered by Sweat collection. The remaining six machines are plugged into the grid. The energy efficient machines are marked by stickers that remind the user that no electricity is being used it is all sweat.

People, whether active in a sport or not, may unintentionally rely on a lot of single-use products. Anyone with an active lifestyle can move around and sweat a lot, which may mean more than one shower a day, thus many empty shampoo/conditioner bottles, and an accumulation of old shoes that have had an intense, short lifespan. Busy individuals also need quick fuel, which could mean eating power bars, creating a surplus of wrappers. So how can people make an effort to be sustainable with all of these single-use products? The answer is a Terracycle program. Terracycling gives these seemingly non-recyclable items the ability to be recycled or “terracycled.” While it is best to avoid single-use items altogether, Terracycle offers the opportunity to upcycle these products, or create something new out of an already existing product. Through terracycling, individuals and groups alike can divert waste and support alternative solutions to landfilling single-use items. Be sure to utilize our on-campus terracycling drop-off spots in the Malley Center lobby and the Into the Wild office, located in lower level Benson.

Green Game
In partnership with the Center for Sustainability, the Santa Clara women’s water polo team hosted their first ever “green” water polo game during the winter quarter of this year. The game was not only zero-waste, but also had low carbon emissions. SCU’s opponent, Stanford University, took Caltrain from their campus instead of driving buses or cars. The Stanford team also made reusable water bottles for both teams with the slogan “Counter Attack Climate Change” labeled on each bottle. The event garnered a lot of attention on Twitter from both Santa Clara and Stanford Athletics, and even a shoutout from Caltrain! Fans at the event were educated about correct waste diversion, reducing their carbon emissions, and the current drought in California. SCU water polo coach Keith Wilbur shared his excitement about the event: “It is great to see opponents collaborating for a greater cause. We plan on continuing this tradition by taking Caltrain up to our game at Stanford next year!” Check out Santa Clara’s press release of the game and Stanford’s recap video.

Student-Athlete Volunteer Days at the Forge
The Center for Sustainability partnered with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) to host student-athlete volunteer days at the Forge Garden. The volunteer days serve as team bonding experiences for each athletic team, while providing some extra hands to help out in the garden. Athletes helped out by composting, weeding, and planting. Lauren Radich, a junior (in the 2013-14 academic year) on the water polo team, says, “It was a lot of fun working with other student athletes out in the sun and getting our hands dirty in the garden! As athletes, we don’t get a lot of time to volunteer, so the opportunity to spend some time working at the Forge was amazing!”

Contributed by Julia Peters and Alex Garcia ‘15, Sustainability Interns, Athletics & Recreation

Tags: Athletics, Buildings and Grounds, Climate Neutrality, Energy, Program Highlights, Student Life, Waste

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Center for Sustainability
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053