By Rachel Chung
After two quarters of hard work, digging through the trash, and debating the recyclability of wax-lined soda cups, the Zero-Waste Pauley Pavilion ART team finished off our project with a short presentation at the ESLP ART poster fair. Our team leaders, Katie Zeller and Talia Young, summarized our efforts: a behavioral audit during a Winter Quarter basketball game, designing signage with the help of the UCLA Recreation marketing team, testing signage effectiveness at Dance Marathon, educating students at the E3 Earth Day Fair, constructing a “Green Events Guideline” for UCLA Recreation, and choosing new waste “islands” for installation in Pauley Pavilion.
At our most recent and final team meeting, we finalized our rating system for the Green Events Guideline. This rating system will work very similarly to the UCLA Green Event Certification program, with a minimum amount of points event hosts must acquire to be certified. However, this Guideline will pertain specifically to events held at UCLA Recreation facilities, such as Pauley Pavilion. The Guideline is divided into two event types – those with, and without food. In order to use a UCLA Recreation facility, events must follow the guideline and will receive a bronze, silver, or gold rating. Bronze level is the minimum requirement to use the facilities. Silver will reflect a more sustainable event, and gold will be the maximum. At the gold level, events may receive some sort of incentive or prize, such as a discounted facilities rental price, but this is to be determined by our stakeholder in the future.
Events will earn a bronze, silver, or gold rating by acquiring points through different sustainable actions specified in the Guideline. For example, using recycled paper for any flyer or paper handout is worth one point. Using compostable or recyclable dishware and silverware is worth a few points. We also included a “creativity” option at the end of the Guideline. This will allow events to increase their points (and potentially receive some sort of incentive) if they go above and beyond the Green Events Guideline with new and innovative sustainability efforts. We hope that this guideline will encourage events to be more sustainable, and if anything, to at least consider efforts to reduce their impact on UCLA Recreation facilities and the environment.
In summary, we’ve been able to accomplish quite a lot during the past two quarters. While creating meaningful and lasting change takes baby steps at first, our actions during our time as a team has allowed us to lay the foundation for an entirely zero-waste facility in the near future. During our poster presentation, many people asked us how future teams might continue the work we started and how feasible zero-waste is in the next few years. While a lot of our efforts have contributed to the goal of zero-waste – for instance, creating more efficient signage and waste bins – it will also take a significant behavioral change in event attendees to attain this goal. Future teams should focus on educational events, perfecting bin placement and signage, and auditing ASUCLA concessions items to minimize the amount of landfill waste that simply enters the facility. We have high hopes for Pauley Pavilion, and we are proud to have contributed even a little to the sustainability of our community.