Home News Campus committee investigates recycling policies and promotes sustainable practices

Campus committee investigates recycling policies and promotes sustainable practices


A task force that hopes to bring more awareness to environmental sustainability at Pierce College was recently created, preparing to join forces with a district-wide program.

Denise Robb, an assistant professor of political science at Pierce, and Beth Abels, associate professor of architecture, created the committee about two months ago and wish to create an official program on campus.

The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) began a $6-billion district-wide sustainability program in 2002, in order to “modernize its colleges…taking steps to reduce the colleges’ carbon footprint,” according to their website.

Other schools in the district including East Los Angeles College and Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC), have established local “Go Green” committees that seek to increase awareness on campus like the “Go Green LAVC Sustainability,” according to its webpage.

Through the Sustainable Building Program created by the LACCD, Pierce College was distributed $648 million, according to the Sustainable Building Program facts sheet from 2010.

64 percent of the funds given to Pierce have been spent in construction of buildings including the new Maintenance & Operations Facility and the new Library/Learning Crossroads Building, according to the Building Program Monthly Progress Report from March 2014.

Even though larger projects like the construction of the buildings and the integration of solar panels and energy efficient features help “greenify” the school, both Robb and Abels want to help increase awareness and do more.

“We’re going to be facing extreme climate change, all the science points that out,” Abels said. “A new study was shown saying that they are expecting a 4-feet sea level rise within the next twenty years, that’s all of Miami, Fl.”

Robb said that she also supports awareness on campus and wants to make the campus “more sustainable.”

“I witnessed with my own eyes that we are not recycling in our offices,” Robb said. “Our blue bins from our offices get thrown into the regular trash and it all gets mixed in.”

Pierce College has several blue recycling bins spread all over campus.  They can be found inside the library, classrooms, and offices.

Two solar-powered trash compactors by BigBelly Solar have also been placed in front of The Freudian Sip. These solar compactors “can reduce trash collections by up to 80 percent,” and also reduce “greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the Waste Management’s website.

Babak Tabar, a 29-year-old graphic design major at Pierce, said he uses the recycling bins at school about 40 percent of the time when he’s throwing away plastic containers or cups.

“Recycling is important but some people don’t care,” Tabar said. “It depends on their mood, like me if I’m angry then I most likely won’t care.”

Larry Kraus, associate vice president of administrative services at Pierce, had no comment on Pierce’s current recycling program that he said is handled by the Plant Facilities Department, but said his office recycles ink cartridges.

“Faculty and staff members are encouraged to bring their ink cartridges once they want to buy new ones,” Kraus said. “We take old cartridges and ship them off to a recycling company.”

Kraus said cardboard boxes are also recycled in the back of the bookstore.

Rogelio Padilla, a clerical trainee at Los Angeles Pierce College CopyTech, said the printing center and the bookstore accumulate a lot of the cardboard boxes that are recycled monthly.

“We have a big demolition machine in the back outside the warehouse and when that machine compresses everything that goes on palettes that are about 800 pounds,” Padilla said. “The custodian department picks up the palettes and then a big truck comes after and takes that somewhere else.”

CopyTech also recycles paper, Padilla said, and uses blue recycling bins in its office.

“We use a lot, a lot of paper,” Padilla said. “When people make printing mistakes, we cut them up and make small pads that can be used for writing or notes.”

Both Abels and Robb encouraged students to join the sustainability task force on campus. Abels said that she believes students should be trained and better educated in order to be better prepared for the future.

“There’s a tremendous amount of things for students to do to get involved,” Abels said. “No matter how much students believe in it or not, its like gravity: you don’t see it and you don’t have to believe in it but it’s still there.”

For more information visit: