The University Recycling Program plans to increase on-campus and dorm-student awareness of recycling as part of an ongoing effort to reduce negative impacts on the environment.
“The program is important because it helps reduce waste and extends the life of a landfill,” said Cyndi Signett, coordinator of the University Recycling Program.
The program began at CSUN in 1991 as a cooperative effort between Associated Students and university administration. According to the program’s website, the program was established to divert recyclable materials from the university waste stream and to promote the benefits of recycling to the campus community.
“The obvious reason for recycling is to save landfill space,” said Claude Willey, a professor in the Urban Studies and Planning Department. Southern California has a big waste problem, and the landfills are quickly filling up, he said.
“Cities and communities need to work together and deal with their own waste,” Willey said. He also said many people think in terms of a “Not In My Back Yard” mentality.
“No one wants to deal with their own waste,” he said.
“(The) United States is a wasteful society,” Willey said.
Waste is a hidden problem since many people do not think about their trash after they have thrown it away, he said.
“There is a big problem with students throwing away everything in the trash instead of recycling,” said Peter Gallego, vice president of finance for Residence Halls Association.
RHA will collaborate with A.S. about an ongoing campaign to educate more students on recycling, Gallego said.
“We want to have students become more aware of what A.S. has to offer, including recycling,” he said.
He said if students are aware of how to recycle, they will make the effort to recycle.
“Many students recycle for extra cash instead of throwing it into the bins,” said Veronica Chavira, a resident adviser in Building 10 of the University Park Apartments.
Chavira said she recommends that each dorm room have a trashcan for recycling. She said she plans to collect recyclable material throughout the semester before she exchanges the recyclables for cash.
The University Recycling Program collaborated with the University Student Union’s Union Program Council’s Craft Corner program on Oct. 12 for a recycling event outside the USU called Second Chance, which promoted inventive ways for reusing products.
The program will also participate in America Recycles Day, which will be held on Nov 15. America Recycles Day is run by a national all-volunteer, non-profit organization.
The goal of the annual campaign, which began in 1997, is to encourage Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products.
In an effort to increase hires of part-time staff and assistants to aid with recycling activities, A.S. passed a full budget package for the recycling program in 2003, Signett said. The estimated cost to run the recycling program is $100,000 a year, Signett said. There are 36 beverage-container recycling bins set up around campus near 29 buildings.
Signett said they currently do not have a method to calculate how much materials students recycle. The program bases numbers of active recycling on how many times bins are emptied. The recycling program empties recycling bins at campus housing between two to three times each week.
Signett said he has noticed the waste products in the bins in the UPA have increased.
Program directors plan to work with Student Housing to educate students during orientation and have booths set up a few times each month to encourage awareness.
Signett said she accepted her job because she always wanted to make a difference environmentally.
Students could make that difference one can or bottle at a time, she said.
Melanie Saxe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.