Category Archives: Earth Day

2019 Earth Day Logo

ARC Earth Day 2019

2019 Earth Day Logo

I’m working on our upcoming Earth Day Celebration here at American River College and I wanted to extend an invitation to each of you to host a free table to share the sustainability efforts of your department or for any green artists or businesses you might be involved with and/or any suggestions for others you may have! We’ll be celebrating Earth Day on: 

Wednesday, April 24 from 8 am – 3 pm

This year’s theme is a little different, REPAIR & REUSE—two of the six R’s of recycling (Reduce / REUSE / Recycle / REPAIR / Rot / Refuse). As we go about developing our strategies to meet ARC President Thomas Greene’s goal of ZERO WASTE BY 2025, we will be looking at the three distinct areas to focus our efforts on:

  1. Upstream: Where we affect product or packaging by a manufacturer that supplies items to our college
  2. Middlestream: Where we extend the longevity of the products used by repairing, reusing, repurposing, refurbishing, donating, and recovering—like food
  3. Downstream: Where we maximize the recovery of resources from our discarded items by sorting and diverting from land fill…aluminum can goes here, food waste goes there, and as a last resort land fill goes ‘away’.

It’s the MIDDLESTREAM that we’d like to highlight this year—extending the life of the items around us! How frequently we buy things affects the amount of material to be managed in our waste streams. By changing consumption expectations, and by extending the life our products, we can reduce the amount of downstream efforts needed to meet our goals.

We’ll of course be once again highlighting ARC’s Fine & Applied Arts Department with our upcycled recycle bins being assembled and reconditioned by our Student Veteran’s Club, booths from our ARC Environmental Studies, Electronics & Automotive Departments, your STRIPE booth, and hosting an e-waste drop off …but this year, I’m going to be inviting people who have probably never been asked to join in on this type of event: local businesses like sewing machine, vacuum & appliance repair shops in our area!

You can find photos from our previous Earth Day Celebrations on our social media outlets here—we’ll of course be having photographs captured for you to share on your social networks this year as well:

If you are interested in tabling at our event, please fill out our online application and someone from my team will get back in touch with you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly—thank you for your consideration.

Don Reid
Earth Day Celebration, Chair

DC Solar trailers coming soon to ARC

July 2018 update

Happy July everyone!

As I go over my calendar, July is looking to be a very busy month on the ARC Sustainability front and so I wanted to put an email out to share some information about a couple of projects that we’ve been working on that are sure to get people talking.

More Recycle Bins for ARC

Late in 2017, the Student Senate agreed to match funding from our Administration for the purchase of 32 new Max-R recycle stations, and they are scheduled to arrive mid-July. These bins will go a long way in increasing the amount of waste that we are able to divert from our landfill waste stream and I can’t wait to get these out for our students, staff & faculty to be able to use. With this batch, we’ll even finally be able to get some bins over to our Natomas & McLellan Centers.

DC Solar Trailers Arriving!

If you were able to make it out to either of the past couple of Earth Day Celebrations, you may have noticed the rather large solar trailers that were out there. On July 18, DC Solar will be bringing us almost $3,000,000 worth of solar trailers as part of a grant and they will not cost us anything. These trailers all have solar panels that charge a set of batteries and come with a gas-powered generator in case the need is there with no sun. That means that each of these will also have the capacity to be emergency power that we can tow to anywhere, should the need arise.

They come configured three different ways:

  1. With picnic benches that have outlets in the middle powered by the solar panels for students to work on and charge their devices. We’ll be putting one in the middle of Portable Village, one in the Computer Math Complex, and one down next to the stadium.
  2. Another configuration: as an EV car charging station. We’ll be putting one of these next to the Tech Ed area, and a couple more in the parking lots on the North & South end. We’ll also be placing one of these at our Natomas & SRPSTC parking lots.
  3. and finally, with two adjustable telescoping LED light towers. We’ll be putting a number of these along the creek walkway in an effort to get some light out there as well as be able to light up the fields.

California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC)

CHESC is a yearly conference where UC Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, Cal Poly, etc… come together to share best practices, and I can’t wait to see what ideas they have for us to bring home to ARC.

This year’s CHESC will be held at UC Santa Barbara, and I’ve been asked to be a speaker to talk about ARC’s diversion efforts. I’ll be highlighting the great work that is happening over in our Hospitality Management program & our Aramark run cafeteria where they are diverting food waste from their land fill waste stream in great numbers. Food waste is heavy and pulling that from our landfill stream is sure to get us closer to the 75% diversion mandates as set by AB 341, and on our way to meet President Greene’s commitment to get to zero-waste by 2025.

I’ll also be bragging about our amazing student art covered recycle bins! This project has many hands involved, and I’d like to thank all of the student artists (many are part of the ARC Art Club) that have taken the time to make it happen. This wouldn’t work without our amazing faculty from FAA, Patricia Wood & Sarah Mattson—they have been instrumental in ensuring this project continues by making these panels part of their class.

I’d like to give a great big ARC thank you to the TRiO SSS Veterans Program At American River College. Without their help on Earth Day, those art panels would just be sitting in my office. Throughout the Earth Day Celebration, they dismantled, cleaned spiders out, stripped, sanded, repaired & painted us an additional 4 bins—we now have 9 on our campus with more to come!

California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA)

And finally, on Saturday, July 28, I’ll be representing ARC at the CRRA awards ceremony at their 42nd Annual Conference & Tradeshow in Oakland where I’ll be accepting their “Outstanding School Recycling Program” award. We had the CRRA Executive Director out to our LRCCD Sustainability Conference in December to give a talk about what zero waste for an organization our size might look like. Here is the Prezi presentation I gave titled “ARC’s path to Zero Waste”.

Since then, we’ve been in contact about how we may get some of our folks trained and certified on zero waste concepts and apparently, she liked what we had going on so much that she submitted ARC for this award. This came as a wonderful surprise in my Monday inbox.

So, as you can see, I’m really looking forward to July and all the changes it will bring our campus. As always, if you need any recycle bins for your area, don’t hesitate to ask; and don’t forget to send us your used toner cartridges—we make money on them for these efforts!!

Don Reid, Sustainability Committee Chair

Earth Day // April 18, 2018

With President Thomas Greene’s new goal for American River College to become a #ZEROWASTE campus, we decided to make it this year’s theme: ZERO WASTE BY 2025. Please mark your calendar and save the date and consider SHARING this event with anyone you think might be able to attend.

This year, we will be showcasing an upcycle day with students from American River College Veterans Resource Center where they will be dismantling, repairing and painting up the frames from some of our old garbage cans and inserting new panels from our Fine & Applied Arts Club to get us more student-created recycle bins for our campus.

Stop by, meet some of the artists & see the story of these student created public art pieces.We’ll also have ARC Departments, local vendors & .orgs with green things to share.

For more information/questions: green@arc.losrios.edu

You can find photos from last year’s Earth Day Celebration in the photo albums on our Facebook page. Here are the links from previous Earth Day celebration at ARC:

We’ll also be celebrating Arbor Day by planting another tree with the Grounds Department mid-day, so if you have tree questions, bring them!

If you are interested in tabling at our event, please fill out our online application (https://goo.gl/9zsxE4) and someone from my team will get back in touch with you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at green@arc.losrios.edu

 

Welcome to Earth Week at ARC!

This Wednesday, we celebrated Earth Day out in front of the Student Center / College Bookstore quad area and I wanted to highlight a few things we had going on for you to check out.

Our theme this year is RECYCLING and we had our student Art Club & student ECOS Club out there creating new recycle signage to go on either side of the Servery portion of the cafeteria that will hopefully make it very clear as to what goes where. They are using wood that we were able to salvage from the folks over in the Theater Department, so recycled wood for our recycle signage ftw!

A good thing to keep in mind about our trash:

Everything that leaves our campus goes on to a scale,
it’s our goal to get that stuff on to the cheaper end of that scale.

Food waste from Aramark & the Hospitality Management Program, campus recycling and green waste (landscape trimmings) are some of the directions we are trying to divert trash but we desperately need YOUR help by separating your waste correctly, modeling that to others, and encouraging the use of less stuff.

By law (#AB341), our campus needs to be at 75% diversion from the land fill stream by 2020, and right now we are at around 40% campus wide. Bottom line, we need to be capturing more of our recyclable content and creating less waste. You may have noticed the new blue & black Max-R recycle stations that went into the Eatery portion of the Cafeteria last month—special thanks to our Administration on this investment as it will go a long way in moving some of that waste away from the land fill.

We had a number of wonderful vendors that brought things like DC Solar. They brought two of their solar powered trailers that come configured as

  1. car charging stations; or as
  2. picnic benches with outlets for students to work at & charge their electronic devices; or as
  3. LED light towers to illuminate the dark corners or our parking lots.

If all goes well, we may get to put one or two on our campus very soon! To see photos of these trailers, check out our Facebook photo gallery where they came to visit us, or where I went to visit them as they launched an install at Mills College.

We’ll also planted a tree with the Sacramento Tree Foundation and our Grounds Department as in celebration of Arbor Day & our official designation as a Tree Campus USA by the U.S. Arbor Day Foundation!

Below are some photos, and you can find the rest on our Facebook page over at facebook.com/SustainARC: Photo gallery from #ARCEarthDay 2017

#PROTIP: Consider bringing your own coffee cup or refillable water bottle to Convocation, or other catered meetings/events—or, encouraging others to do so at yours. Those Starbucks cups are not recyclable or compostable.

Waste Audit Results from Convocation

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At convocation this semester, we analyzed the waste generated from our event—here is the WHY, the HOW IT RELATES TO US, and the (most important part) WHAT CAN YOU DO of it all…

WHY?

Over the summer several of us were able to attend the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) at CSU Fullerton. This week long conference is where sustainability teams from colleges & universities from all around our state come together to share how they have gotten green practices to work for them saving money, energy, making dents in food insecurity, social justice, and especially (from my own perspective) recycling/diversion.

There is of course a photo gallery that you can take a look at:

Once the conference was wrapped up, several of us attended a WASTE AUDIT training where we:

  1. weighed all of the food, recycling, trash bags from this week long event
  2. put those numbers into a spreadsheet
  3. tore the bags apart, re-sorted everything correctly
  4. re-weighed everything—and put those numbers back into the spreadsheet to analyze percentages and make recommendations

The results were surprising, to say the very least. We found at their event, there was so little actual trash that next year they won’t even have garbage cans out as they were just used incorrectly with only 64lbs of 776.5lbs being truly landfill for a 92% diversion (from landfill) rate!

 Pictured above is ARC’s Ashley Kwan & Frankie Johnson during a waste audit training session that we performed on the trash generated from this week long event.
Pictured above is ARC’s Ashley Kwan & Frankie Johnson during a waste audit training session that we performed on the trash generated from this week long event.

Overheard during that session: “It all gets weighed, it’s our job to try and get as much of this stuff on to the cheaper end of the scale as possible.”

HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO ARC/LOS RIOS?

Some time ago, a bill (AB 341) was passed that mandates business’ our size divert 75% of our waste stream away from the land fill, which means we need to be sending ¾ of what we generate to the recycling bins, the food waste bins, the (broken down) cardboard bins, and the grass/tree trimming bins – instead of the garbage cans.

2016 Fall Convocation Waste Audit Spreadsheet
2016 Fall Convocation Waste Audit Spreadsheet

That spreadsheet (2016 Fall Convocation Waste Audit Spreadsheet) is pretty pretty similar to what we are seeing campus-wide as shown in the pie chart below:

2015 ARC Diversion Rates

For comparison, the entire UC system has pledged statewide to work toward 100% diversion. That’s right, ALL of the UCs are working toward becoming ZERO-WASTE campus’ and as you can see from that CHESC event, the work to get there is paying off.

The models are in place, working, and they are eager to share with us (and everyone) how they got there.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Get involved / stay informed / share recycling practices with your office at the next department meeting / let us know you need a recycle bin / ask questions / choose recyclable or compostable products and then recycle them when the time comes / empty your small recycle bins into a common area larger one when they are full / ask the cafeteria to use compostable materials for your next catered event / BREAK DOWN THOSE CARDBOARD BOXES & set them next to the recycle bins / follow along with our efforts & ask questions out loud on our social media / and my favorite: sign up to get your ARC Green Office Acorn award—just as many ARC offices have.

You can find the first Acorn instructions/application/checklist on the ARC Sustainability website. By the way, the GREEN OFFICE award will be the focus of this year’s Earth Day event scheduled for Wednesday, April 19, 2017:

As always, if you have any questions about recycling, or would like to be more involved, please reach out. I hope to have more updates as time permits…and I promise they’ll be shorter. I do microblog all of our efforts to our Twitter & Facebook page, so please feel free to LIKE / Share /  Comment / Retweet / follow along to your heart’s extent.

Thank you all for your time.

Don Reid, Supervisor Printing Services
ARC Sustainability Committee, Chair

ARC Green Office Committee, Chair
ARC Tree Campus Advisory Committee, Chair
ARC Buildings Grounds & Safety Committee, Campus Sustainability Representative