In an attempt to make UCSB more sustainable, the university signed an updated waste management contract with MarBorg Industries last month.
Although the company has been UCSB’s primary trash hauler for over 40 years, the retrofitted four-year contract implements more effective waste management strategies. Ultimately, UCSB hopes to reach total waste diversion — or full withdrawal from usage of landfills — within 10 years.
As part of the agreement, MarBorg will compost and process UCSB’s food waste at its off-site recycling facility. The company will also use a natural gas vehicle to transfer waste and utilize subterranean bins to redirect the campus’s green waste from the Santa Barbara landfill.
UCSB Associate Vice Chancellor Ron Cortez, co-chair of the Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee, said the pilot project, which ran earlier this year, reduced campus food waste by 80 percent.
“The new MarBorg contract specifically increases the amount of diversion on campus and reduces the waste going to the landfill,” Cortez said. “All materials that are recyclable without this contract would otherwise go to the landfill. The second part is that all food waste that is generated in the dormitories will be collected by MarBorg and composted.”
Additionally, UCSB will receive $25 for every ton of recyclable material produced.
Sustainability Coordinator Grant Keefe said UCSB continues to implement numerous modernization mechanisms to reduce its carbon footprint.
“UCSB continues to excel as a leader in sustainability, with concentrations in waste diversion, energy efficiency improvements, water conservation initiatives, local food projects, alternative transportation programs and environmental research,” Keefe said in a press release.
According to Cortez, the UC’s budget hardships are an obstacle, but will not prevent UCSB from making further sustainability improvements.
“The model that we’re looking at is to continue to partner with businesses and solid waste providers to help with diversion on campus,” Cortez said. “We’re facing significant budget cuts on campus but we don’t want that to preclude us from sustainability efforts. Not having enough money should not be an excuse for not making sustainability efforts — it should make us more creative.”