Opening a recycling center at Pierce will not only put money in our pockets, but encourage students to make environmentally conscious decisions in daily life.
Most people do not bring their recyclables to a center because it is a hassle. Setting up a place to recycle near the farm will make it convenient for students and faculty who are already on campus to be compensated for their aluminum cans, plastic and paper.
The average American throws away 3.5 pounds of trash per day, according to MIT. That is a ton of trash and a lot of it can recycled. Okay, technically it takes 571 days for you to fill our landfills with 2,000 pounds of trash all by yourself.
The city of Los Angeles is ahead of the curve and has a plan to eliminate all waste being sent to landfills by 2025. The 2013 Los Angeles City of Zero Waste Progress Report said that 76 percent of our waste was diverted from landfills in 2011, up from 20 percent in 1990.
The majority of that waste is comprised of the compost that we place in the green barrels. It is true that we have the blue barrels, but we are also giving money away.
In California a 12 ounce can of soda has a CRV of 5 cents. By California law you can bring up to 50 cans to a recycle center and request to be paid per can instead of by weight. Do that a couple times and you have a falafel from the food truck using money that was rightfully yours.
For L.A. to achieve its ambitious and commendable goal of producing zero waste it requires a group effort from all of us. Having a recycling center on campus will not only help to produce and save money, but it will raise awareness and make the community more involved in the process.
The center can also be combined with a compost pile that is either turned into soil for the farm or sold to the community.
Science classes can integrate their curriculum with the center ands workshops can be organized to inform students on reusable goods and how to leave no footprint while living sustainable lives. It is one thing to throw your can in a blue barrel. It is another to immerse yourself in a lifestyle and possess the knowledgeable to make environmentally friendly purchases.
A recycling center on campus is a teaching tool and will aid in our planet’s transition to green living. It may seem like a small thing, but being incorporated into the process makes a world of difference in human behavior and provides the opportunity to educate others as well.
Pierce is a stepping stone to the future. It’s a place not only where we dream of a future, but can play a role in achieving a no-waste city here in Los Angeles. Like all great things, it will take effort to make this dream a reality. You have to start somewhere.