Chou Hall Zero Waste Initiative and Haas Sustainability Task Force (HSTF) at Berkeley Haas

Chou Hall has been deemed the greenest academic building in the nation, and is the first certified zero waste academic building in the world. By creating a space in which landfill is neither created nor disposed of, the Berkeley Haas community is reducing its carbon footprint and causing building users to think deeper about the life cycle of their waste. Chou Hall is the first drop in an ecosystem-wide ripple that will become a wave, and eventually a tide of change. The building serves as a model for environmental sustainability at UC Berkeley and represents a critical step toward the University of California’s Zero Waste by 2020 and Carbon Neutrality by 2025 goals.

Years in the making, our Zero Waste Initiative Report has been published as of July 2020. The report offers a blueprint of the learnings, recommendations, redesigns, and ongoing iterations it took to create substantial innovative change at Chou Hall. Now as the greenest academic building in the nation, and the very first zero waste certified academic building in the world, Chou Hall stands as a beacon of hope for the zero waste movement on our campus and beyond.

We hope that you will take a look at the report to be reminded that patience, determination, flexibility, and collaboration lead to amazing results, despite the setbacks and lessons learned along the way. We thank every person who has contributed to this project, and encourage you to send the report to anyone who may find it of use—we hope this report will give you proprietary technical pieces of advice, as well as overall inspiration and insight into the resiliency that is necessary to make structural change like has been done at Chou Hall.

Join the Task Force

Interested in supply chain management or behavior change? Have ideas on innovative zero waste solutions? Enjoy tackling difficult, but important issues with the ability to have a scalable impact? We need Haas leaders to drive sustainability change. We elect VPs of Sustainability for each Haas cohort, and you could be one of them! Email us: [email protected]

TRUE Zero Waste Certification

  • Chou Hall is the first business school in the world to receive the TRUE Zero Waste certification at the highest level, Platinum
  • Read the definition of Zero Waste by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA)
  • For the TRUE Zero Waste certification, the diversion rate (the amount of material going to compost and recycling versus landfill) must be 90% or more for 12 consecutive months.

Our Zero Waste Pledge
First and foremost, Chou Hall is committed to continuous improvement and following the Zero Waste Business Principles. View a detailed list of our Zero Waste Pledges.

What You Should Know, Specifically for Chou Hall and now Cheit Hall

  • There are no landfill bins in any of the public spaces in Chou Hall except for small receptacles in women’s restrooms for feminine hygiene products.
  • Everything generated in Chou Hall (including Cafe Think to-go ware) is compostable or recyclable.
  • Building users are asked to adopt a “Pack-In, Pack-Out” mentality, and take with them any landfill brought into the building. Large solar powered waste compactors called Big Belly units are located near building entrances.
  • There are compost, recycling, and mixed paper bins on each floor. There are no receptacles in the classrooms or group study rooms. Please view the sorting guide for compost, bottles/ cans/ metals recycling, and mixed paper recycling.
  • Event caterers and hosts must adhere to the  Zero Waste Guidelines and Events Checklist.
  • Bring your reusable water bottle and coffee mug. Receive $0.25 off drink purchases at Cafe Think with your reusable.
  • Review the Zero Waste Compostable Guide to learn about different types and properties of compostables.


  • BearBuy: Order school and office supplies, equipment, and catering items (make sure to filter by Product Tag for the green tree and/or green recycle arrows) CampusSurplus: UC Berkeley’s auction site for surplus goods on campus.
  • ReUse: UC Berkeley’s own student-run thrift store.


The (HSTF) is at the center of creating tangible change at Haas, the wider Berkeley campus, and beyond.  Staff, students, and faculty from Haas and all over campus are members of the HSTF.

Additionally, the HSTF has a VP/Co-VP from each degree program (Full-Time MBA, Evening and Weekend MBAs, Executive MBA, and Undergraduate HBSA). The VP is responsible for working with their program office and peers to identify appropriate and strategic sustainable initiatives that help increase awareness and reduce Haas’ carbon footprint, including reducing or eliminating waste, emissions, etc.

The HSTF meets once a month to discuss, collaborate, apply design thinking techniques, and strategize on how to implement new ideas for sustainable infrastructure, operations, and innovation at Haas.  Click here for more information on the HSTF  and our initiatives.

Campus Green Resources