If celebrants at Commencement want to throw confetti, they are urged to use confetti made with biodegradable paper that won’t harm the environment.
The use of Mylar, glitter or plastic confetti is highly discouraged because the materials do not decompose and become litter, increasing the workload of grounds workers who are responsible for maintaining 17 acres each (Nearly 44 backyards that are 1,000 square feet each fit in one acre).
Mylar, glitter and plastic confetti also pose a threat to wildlife such as birds that could mistake the colorful bits of plastic for food. In addition, the plastic confetti can get washed away and pollute waterways that lead to the ocean. Fish and other animals could then consume the plastic and contaminate the food chain.
Crews from Custodial and Recycling Services and Landscape Services will have their hands full keeping The Quad looking pristine for Commencement ceremonies that will be held for three days starting on May 20.
“As a campus that is known for being sustainable, we ask Commencement attendees who use confetti to use biodegradable confetti,” said Brian Lake, manager of Landscape Services. “People can celebrate and help by not damaging the ecosystem at the same time.”
In-person ceremonies are returning to the campus after two socially distanced Commencements brought on the COVID-19 pandemic. Cal Poly Pomona will hold 12 ceremonies and more than 7,000 students are expected to receive their degrees in the University Quad.
Commencement ceremonies in 2020 and 2021 were held in drive-through formats in parking lots at Fairplex.