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…
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:
- Facebook photo gallery (you don’t have to log in to FB to see it):
ARC at this year’s California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC)
Once the conference was wrapped up, several of us attended a WASTE AUDIT training where we:
- weighed all of the food, recycling, trash bags from this week long event
- put those numbers into a spreadsheet
- tore the bags apart, re-sorted everything correctly
- 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!
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.
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:
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