Athletics Sustainability Program

Greening Cal Athletics

UC Berkeley became a member of the Green Sports Alliance in May 2014 through the sponsorship of the Beverage Alliance. The Pac-12 Conference is the only NCAA conference to have all member institutions also be members of the Green Sports Alliance. To this end, the Pac-12 Conference members and the Green Sports Alliance established the Pac-12 Sustainability Group in October 2014. The Student Environmental Resource Center and Cal Zero Waste serve as the UC Berkeley representatives in the Pac-12 Sustainability Group.

The Pac-12 Sustainability Group proposed the creation of Athletics Sustainability Fellowships at each of the Pac-12 member institutions. UC Berkeley’s program was managed by SERC from 2015-2016.

SERC’s Athletics Sustainability Fellows researched and indentified sustainability practices within Cal Athletics. Focus areas included Equipment, Operations, Venues, and Events, and identifying and advising athlete sustainability champions on Cal Athletics teams.  The Fellows also assisted with education, outreach, and fan engagement through UC Berkeley’s participation in RecycleMania and Green Sports Alliance Pac-12 Game Day Challenges.

2015-2016 Athletics Sustainability Fellows: Michelle Wray and Scott Gisel

Partners: SERC, Cal Zero Waste, Cal Dining, Cal Athletics, Beverage Alliance, Green Sports Alliance, Pac-12 Sustainability Group


One completed project includes the purchase and install of a reBounces machine at the Cal Tennis Team’s courts, thanks to funding from The Green Initiative Fund. The machine pressurizes tennis balls so they can be reused during practices rather than discarded after matches. Tennis balls have also been donated to a local elementary school for the bottoms of furniture legs.


UC Berkeley’s football stadium, Memorial Stadium, is designated a zero waste stadium. To that end, the Athletics Sustainability Fellows and Cal Zero Waste partnered with Cal Athletics to ensure the stadium has the necessary zero waste bins and signage.


Zero waste education, outreach, and fan engagement are critical strategies deployed by ZWRC to promote upstream behavior changes in community members. ZWRC, CRRS, and SERC have partnered on UC Berkeley’s participation in the annual RecycleMania Game Day Challenge since 2013 and the Green Sports Alliance Pac-12 Game Day Challenge since 2015. UC Berkeley has won the RecycleMania Game Day Challenge consecutively from 2013-2016 and won the 2015 and 2016 Green Sports Alliance Pac-12 Basketball Game Day Challenges. UC Berkeley placed 2nd in the 2015 Inaugural Green Sports Alliance Pac-12 Football Game Day Challenge.

Pre-game best practices include collaboration with concessions to ensure all items sold are compostable or recyclable, developing an educational video to be show during the game and an educational game to be played by fans during halftime, and installing zero waste reduction bins and signs throughout the basketball Pavilion. Game day best practices include student “trash talkers” assisting fans with waste diversion and sorting, educational tabling through the Pavilion and Stadium, and providing bins to collect used pom-poms and fan items for reuse at future games.



Cal Sets Standard in Zero Waste

Who’s Really All About ZERO Waste? UC Berkeley! (video)

UC Berkeley Wins Inaugural Green Sports Alliance Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge

UC Berkeley wins Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge

Pac-12 joins its members as official partner of the Green Sports Alliance

Bears are No. 1 (again) in national game-day recycling contest

Talking trash? Sure, it’s Recyclemania

Bears retain national RecycleMania title

Diverting waste with basketball: Zero Waste Game Day

RecycleMania Game Day Challenge  (video)

UC Berkeley Zero Waste by 2020 (video)

University of Colorado, Boulder Brings Home The Title In 2015 Pac-12 Zero Waste Bowl; UC-Berkeley Runner-Up