Zero Waste Ambassadors is a program within Cal Poly Sustainability that helps campus events reach zero waste, which means that 90 percent or more of the waste generated at an event is being diverted from a landfill. Some of the events that we help make zero waste include the Football BBQ Stampede, Open House, and various career fairs on campus, among others. The Zero Waste Ambassadors were started from the ground-up last year by an AmeriCorps service member and became widely successful. The program was later taken over by AmeriCorps member Ashley Priest, who coordinates with volunteers to help them man our zero waste stations. Volunteers stand behind a zero waste station and direct and educate others on where to properly dispose of their waste. Without their guidance, zero waste bins would be too contaminated and sent directly to a landfill.
The need for Zero Waste Ambassadors is essential to Cal Poly, as the university has a goal of diverting 80 percent of campus waste from a landfill by 2020. And although the university is taking major steps to accomplish this goal, there is still a long way to go. Cal Poly currently sends over 2,000 tons of materials to landfill every year. Our zero waste events have a chance to decrease the amount of waste sent to landfill as well as educate people on how to properly compost and recycle. With the help of our zero waste volunteers, we have diverted over 3,400 pounds of waste from being sent to landfill from our last four events alone! But we need your help in order to ensure that we can continue our work.
At the end of the year, Ashley's AmeriCorps term will conclude, and the future of Zero Waste Ambassadors depends on the money raised during our 30-day campaign. In order for this program to be sustainable long-term, we need to raise $3,500 in order to make the program a student-run effort. This is why the money from our campaign will go directly toward funding an “Earn by Doing” student-assistant who will be in charge of the Zero Waste Ambassadors program. Any remaining funds will be used to purchase standardized recycling signage for all of the recycling bins across campus. This will ensure universal signage for all campus events and less confusion among people and where to distribute their waste. Please consider donating to our campaign and help us and Cal Poly accomplish goals for a more sustainable campus.
If you would like to learn more about our campaign, visit us at our boothing session: November 8 from 11-12pm on Dexter lawn or at the Football BBQ Stampede on November 11. Otherwise, check out and follow our social media accounts!