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HDH Sustainability Annual Report: Environmental and Social Responsibility

Every year, we create a report to highlight achievements and updates, recognize our partners, and share progress towards our campus sustainability goals. Check out the latest report from Academic Year 2020-2021.

UCOP Annual Sustainability Report

The UC Office of the President (UCOP) reports progress towards the goals outlined in the Sustainable Practices Policy. Check out the 2020 Annual Report on Sustainable Practices

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement of the UC Sustainability Offices and Staff

We recognize that the environmental and sustainability fields have a legacy of systemic racism that impacts all of our sustainability work. We have a collective and individual responsibility to learn about environmental racism and systemic racism and to address and dismantle it. In order to achieve this, HDH Sustainability signed onto a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement of UC Sustainability Offices and Staff that commits us to specific actions, accountability, and transparency.

What We Do

EcoNauts / Events

Who are the EcoNauts?

The EcoNauts are HDH's student sustainability employees. They are UC San Diego students from all backgrounds, years, and majors — just like you! They host events, work on projects, and help us towards reaching our campus sustainability goals. Learn more about the current team.

Waste Audits

The EcoNauts perform waste audits at various locations on campus to quantify what is being thrown away and to identify areas of improvement for diverting food waste and recyclable items. "Diverting" or "diversion" are activities that reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill. 

November 2019: Two hours of trash was gathered and sorted from the 64 Degrees’ front-of-house trash bins (46 pounds). The composition of this trash by weight was found to be:

Diagram: Waste audit results

In addition to 28 lbs of food waste, many plastic to-go containers and other rigid plastics were found. Please remember to compost in the green Tiny Bin Tims, and recycle in the blue bins!

After sorting, this waste was properly disposed of, and the data is used to continually improve our sustainability programs.

Social Media

Follow the EcoNauts on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date with news, vlogs, and short videos throughout the year. Sometimes you'll even have opportunities to win sustainable prizes! Visit Facebook to check out their previous vlogs highlighting sustainability tips, programs and key partnerships on campus.

EcoNaut Events

The EcoNauts host events and programs throughout the year to spread awareness about sustainability. Check out their upcoming events here

Zero Waste Events

HDH Wellness and Engagement hosts a series of wellness events each year, most notably Wellfest in fall quarter. In 2019, Wellfest had an attendance of over 1,100, and achieved a 99.4% diversion rate with the help of the Student Sustainability Collective, Roger’s Urban FarmLab, the EcoNauts, UC San Diego Catering, and many others! Future wellness events will strive for zero waste as well! 

"Diversion rate" is the percentage of total waste that was not sent to the landfill. Diversion can be achieved through recycling, composting and waste reduction. 

Dining / Catering

Triton2Go (T2G) Reusable Containers

The T2G reusable container program began in fall 2020 in order to move us closer to the University’s Zero Waste goals. In the first year, we eliminated almost 350,000 single-use plastic to-go containers, reducing campus waste by almost 100 tons! Learn more about the program here

Reusable Dishware and Utensils


Dining in? Use reusable utensils, cups and plates when eating at Dining locations.

  • If you bring in your own reusable cup or mug when purchasing fountain beverages or coffee, you will receive a $0.20 discount.
  • Shopping at the markets? Help reduce paper bag usage by bringing in a canvas or reusable bag, and receive a $0.05 discount.

Remember to return reusable ware to our locations if you take them back to your suite or apartment.

Pre-Consumer Composting Program

All HDH Dining locations and Catering compost all pre-consumer food scraps (melon rinds, vegetable peels, coffee grounds, etc) and leftovers (inedible foods) generated in the kitchens. Food scraps are delivered to the Miramar Greenery, a City of San Diego program, where it is turned into compost. Learn more about that program here.

How can you help reduce waste? Order only what you plan to eat, or take leftovers to-go. Properly sort your trash, recycling, and food scraps after eating. If you're unsure of what goes where, refer to the signage at each waste station for guidance. 

Tiny Bin Tim: Post-Consumer Composting

Tiny Bin Tim (TBT) is our post-consumer food scrap composting program. Keep an eye out for the small, green food waste bins in all HDH restaurants soon. TBT can accept all of your food scraps, including animal products, but not liquids. Food scraps collected will be turned into compost by EDCO's anaerobic digester.  

New Leaf Biofuel Program

Since 2007, all used cooking oil from HDH kitchens is collected by New Leaf and converted into biofuel.

Fair Trade

HDH supports the University's commitment to social and environmental responsibility by offering Fair Trade products in all Dining Services facilities.  All of our Dining restaurants and markets offer exclusively Fair Trade coffee, tea and sugar, and at least one Fair Trade choice of ice cream and chocolate. Our coffees and teas are from ecoGrounds coffee, a company that is certified Fair Trade and USDA Organic. For every pound of coffee sold, ecoGrounds donates $0.15 to the on-campus Triton Food Pantry. 

What does Fair Trade mean?

  • Paying farmers a living wage for their harvest.
  • Creating direct trade links to farmers and their cooperatives.
  • Providing access to affordable credit, helping farmers stay out of debt to local middlemen. 
  • Promoting sustainable practices, such as organic and shade-grown farming, that help protect the environment. 
  • Fair Trade coffee comes from farmers who have been certified and receive a minimum price for their harvest.

Sustainable Market Offerings

Visit the markets for a wide selection of eco-friendly products, ranging from household goods, health and beauty items, cleaning supplies and of course, food! Learn more about some of the brands we carry and their commitment to sustainability, by visiting their website.

Sustainable Food Sources

See where our food comes from.

UC San Diego Catering

Through partnerships with Facilities Management and Roger's Garden, UC San Diego Catering expanded their zero-waste catered event offerings. During the 2019-2020 Academic Year, they hosted 54 zero-waste events, ranging from small office gatherings to large-scale campus events. 


Hydration Locations

For an everyday solution to reducing waste, Hydration Locations are located across campus, providing free, filtered drinking water. Bring your own reusable water bottle and fill up.

Zero Waste Move-Outs

Our annual move-outs are as convenient as possible with the goal of Zero-Waste in mind. Disabled American Veteran (DAV) donation bins are placed in every college for students to donate their used items, and yellow donation bins are placed in the markets to accept leftover, non-perishable food items. All food items donated benefit the on-campus Triton Food Pantry.

In 2020, 9 tons of donations were collected for the DAV. This number is lower than normal years because there were fewer on-campus residents due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Waste Bins and Signage

HDH tries to make it easy to dispose of waste properly with convenient landfill and recycling bins, and descriptive sorting signage. Soon, we expect to have food waste disposal options as well. If you have any questions about how to sort your waste, please contact us

Green Buildings

LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

The majority of HDH's buildings are LEED certified for their environmentally responsible and sustainable design strategies, including energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, use of sustainable materials, and many others. Additionally, all new buildings on campus must be at least LEED Silver. However, HDH strives to exceed this by designing to Gold or Platinum rating. 

Check out all the LEED buildings on campus here

North Torrey Pines Anaerobic Digester

This technology processes food waste from the Sixth college restaurants on-site. Learn more here

Green Cleaning

The products and procedures used to clean our buildings promote better indoor environmental quality, and foster a healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable environment for everyone to live, learn and work. 

Green Office Procedures

HDH strives to maintain sustainable office spaces that meet the following requirements:

  • Double-sided printing as default
  • Cloud document storage
  • Mini trash bins
  • Recycling bags/bins
  • Reusable cups/mugs/water bottles for staff
  • Nor providing single-use plastic utensils in the breakrooms
  • Not providing single-use coffee pods

Donation Programs

HDH Donation Program

This program supports students in need by providing them with previously used household items. This program serves undergraduate and graduate students. Our inventory is based on donations and other collected items, so availability is not guaranteed, but we strive to have the following regularly available:

  • Desks
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Dressers 
  • Lamps
  • Microwaves
  • Vacuums
  • Fans
  • Toasters
  • Bedframes
  • Others items not listed may be available

To donate or to request an appointment to receive items, please contact us by email at:

Disabled American Veterans

HDH partners with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) to donate furniture, clothing, and other household items. Each ton of donation to the DAV contributes approximately $2,000 towards programs benefiting disabled veterans in the community.

Donation bins are located in all Graduate Family Housing communities throughout the year. During residential move-outs, donation bins are placed in all undergraduate residential areas to collect items. 

Food Recovery Network

The Food Recovery Network coordinates with HDH’s executive culinary team to pick up edible, perishable food items for donation. In academic year 2020-2021, over 3,500 pounds of food were collected and donated!

San Diego Rescue Mission

HDH also donates edible, fresh foods to the San Diego Rescue Mission. In academic year 2020-2021, over 9,300 pounds of food were donated. 

Triton Food Pantry

Nonperishable food items are donated to the on-campus Triton Food Pantry. During residential move-outs, HDH hosts a food drive benefiting the Pantry. During the 2021 move-outs, over 5,500 pounds were collected. Donations in excess of the Pantry's storage capacity were donated to the San Diego Food Bank, and a portion of the donations was credited back to the Pantry to help fund their program. 

Marshall Lower Apartments Furniture and Appliances Repurpose

Marshall Lowers Furniture and moving truck

HDH teams cleared out furniture and appliances from Marshall Lower apartments over a five-day period in late June in preparation for the demolition of the site for the construction of Ridge Walk North Living and Learning Neighborhood, which begins this summer.

To ensure that as much as possible is diverted from the landfill, more than 2,300 pieces were repurposed or stored for future use. Items range from armchairs, bed springs, bed ends, dressers, chairs, outdoor furniture and lamps. Hundreds of furniture found new life in other areas on campus, including office spaces and residential neighborhoods. Facilities Management reclaimed items such as fire alarm panels, lighting and utility meters, and campus technology groups acquired IT equipment from all buildings for future use.

Coordinating efforts with Dormlife and DCI Furniture, both contracted vendors with the University of California, HDH worked with a charity to provide over 560 pieces, including wardrobe sets, mattresses, stoves and refrigerators. M.O.M's Café and Glacier Point study lounge at Muir College received sofas, armchairs and dining tables. Sixty bike racks were salvaged as well for potential future use.

With sustainability in mind, HDH is intentional and conscientious about purchasing furniture used in residential student spaces that is built to last for many years. In fact, there are existing pieces that average 35 years old. It continues to be the department’s goal to support and meet the university’s vision of 100% diversion from the landfill.