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Sustainability Report Highlights

UC Merced has made leaps and bounds in its goal to reach its triple zero goal to eliminate waste, emissions, and net energy on campus. These efforts have been well documented for each year and the data has been rounded up into annual reports for ease. Some key highlights from the 2022 Annual Report are can be found below.

Edible Food Recovery Grant

UC Merced’s Office of Sustainability’s Bobcat Eats Food Waste Awareness and Prevention Program, in partnership with United Way of Merced, Community Initiatives 4 Collective Impact and the 18th Street People’s Garden, has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).



Zero Net Emissions

UC Merced had set an aggressive goal to achieve climate neutrality for scopes 1 and 2 sources by 2020. In 2021, UC Merced operations ramped up with a return to in-person instruction. The campus is assessing its energy performance with the onset of increased building occupancy. Scope 3 emissions are estimated and will be refined as additional information is gathered to provide a full spectrum of campus behavior.

Zero Net Energy

Following suit with the previous year, UC Merced has been able to generate around 35,000 Mwh/year of renewable energy in 2021. This accounts for the total production of renewable energy from both the off-campus UC Wholesale Power Program and the on-campus systems.

Zero Waste

Overall municipal solid waste (excluding construction and demolition) increased 82% over last year, most likely due to the return to campus and events. However, UC Merced has been able to reduce waste generation to the 2030 goal of less than 0.3 lbs of waste per person per day in 2022. 

Peoples Pantry

UC Merced was also highlighted in the 2022 Sustainable Campus Index SCI for the Pop-up People’s Pantry. The pantry partners with UC Merced’s Bobcat Eats Food Waste Awareness and Prevention Program and the 18th Street People’s Garden. The Pop-Up People’s Pantry is unique compared to typical campus food pantries because it targets both students and community members in helping to reduce food insecurity and food waste in the Merced community. 




The University resumed reporting on green spend, as defined in the Sustainable Procurement Guidelines, in fiscal year 2021–22 and reached out to suppliers for spend data in four product categories for this year’s report.






Dining services had limited offerings due to COVID-19 restrictions. Invoices could not be retrieved from two vendors, so both were assumed to be neither plant-based nor sustainable.






UC Merced experienced a decrease in commute emissions due to the COVID-19 restrictions and transition to remote work.







Overall water use increased from the previous two years due to additional buildings coming online from the 2020 project, UC Merced’s expansion program.





Click here to see the full 2022 Annual Report!