Zero Waste move out

As the Fall 2019 semester comes to an end, so approaches move out, which is one of our most wasteful times of year. Waste left behind by students often overfills landfill dumpsters, though many of the abandoned items could be donated or recycled. Additionally, students often get rid of items they will be needing in the coming academic year when they move to a new location.

As a campus we are striving for zero waste by 2025. This goal may sound outrageous, but zero waste really means that we are diverting 90 percent of our waste from landfill. In 2017, we did not meet our zero waste goal during move out. Actually, we sent 21.6 tons of waste to landfill, while recycling and donations together only made up about 14 tons. Luckily, this leaves room for improvement.

Students moving out this May have many options for preventing waste from ending up in the local landfill. We have compiled a list of recommendations, suggestions and resources that aid in a zero waste move out!

  • Start sorting and packing early
  • Keep the items you’ll need for next semester instead of throwing them away and buying new next year
  • Keep your food out of the landfill:
    • Start eating your frozen food now
    • Compost any perishable items
    • Donate canned goods and non-perishable items
  • Bring your unwanted electronics to one of the e-waste collection sites on campus
  • Share a storage unit with friends to keep items you’ll need next academic year in the Monterey area
  • Donate unwanted items to one of the drop off sites on campus
    • Area 1 Residence Hall Breezeways, Area 2 Residence Hall Lobbies, Promontory B Cyber Cafe, North Quad
  • Sort your waste in your room and then take it to the dumpsters
  • Invest in reusable bins or use laundry baskets, pillow cases, or dresser drawers to pack your things and eliminate the need for cardboard boxes
  • Sell unwanted items on Craigslist, Facebook, or another app or website

All hope is not lost; it is possible for us to meet our goal by reducing, reusing and recycling. By following the above tips and only using landfill as a last resort, you can help us achieve our zero waste goal and have a positive impact on the planet! When moving out, consider these three steps in terms of what to do with your unwanted belongings.


  • Lightly worn clothing
  • Housewares
  • Unopened & non-perishable food
  • Kitchenwares
  • School supplies
  • Bedding, sheets & towels
  • Storage containers
  • Mirrors
  • Cleaning products


  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Plastics & Glass
  • Small electronics
  • Aluminum & Metal

Last Resort – Landfill

  • Food-soiled paper
  • Styrofoam
  • Perishable foods
  • Condiments
  • Ceramics
  • Plastic utensils

For more information visit our Zero Waste Page on the Sustainability CSUMB website.

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