RecycleMania celebrates Zero Waste program

by Dani Horn

Huge mounds of paper, bottles and various other discard will soon become part of the campus landscape. The heaps of bulging trash bags will be so large that they’ll have to be contained behind bright orange fencing so as to not spill over onto sidewalks and into courtyards.

But GCC isn’t experiencing a collegiate custodial strike.

For the third year in a row, Glendale Community College will participate in the nationwide college waste reduction competition, RecycleMania, as part of our Zero Waste program.

“One of our waste minimization efforts has been the Zero Waste program,” said GCC Facilities Management staffer, Chanda Fraulino. “GCC is committed to reducing waste and keeping waste out of our landfills, so all employees have exchanged their large trash receptacle for a recycle receptacle and Zero Waste bin.”

The new bins are smaller and don’t require plastic liners so in addition to reducing waste amounts, they cut down liner usage by about15, 000 per month.

RecycleMania itself is an eight week contest involving more than 300 colleges and universities from around the country.

The competition aims at promoting student and staff involvement in recycling and waste reduction efforts. Schools can compete in eight different categories such as waste minimization, food service organics and per capita classic, which measures waste reduction in pounds per person. Winners receive a special award made out of recyclable materials and trophy hosting rights for the following year.

“Last year, GCC placed seventh out of 149 colleges and universities nationwide in the Waste Minimization category.  We are hoping to improve our ranking in this year’s competition as well as increase recycling,” Fraulino said.

The school is striving for its increase in recycling efforts this year by posting signs around campus reminding students to keep their “Caps Off”.

Based off previous recycling numbers, an easy solution presented itself when GCC also learned that the City of Glendale is not able to recycle bottles with any remaining liquid in them.

“The results of the Recycle Drive in November indicated that 17 percent of our recycle stream is contaminated bottles.  These are bottles that have been placed in a recycle bin with the lids still on and liquids inside,” said Fraulino. “If we can get students to remove the caps so the liquids will evaporate, then our recycling rate will increase.”

RecycleMania begins Feb. 1 and continues until March 28. Accepted recyclable materials include clean cartons and aluminum cans, cardboard and chipboard, mixed paper such as magazines and newspaper and plastic containers.

However, GCC is not able to take certain items commonly thought of as recyclable such as candy wrappers, plastic bags, soda straws, chip bags and plastic food utensils.

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