Plans for Zero Waste Set in Motion
April 17, 2017This article was written by Tori Johnson
April 22nd will mark the 47th annual celebration of Earth, a day observed by billions of people across the globe that provokes action in policy changes and provides awareness to environmental issues.
“Last year, CSUMB students produced around 43 tons of waste during the two week period of move out,” says Sarah Schmidt, 3rd year recycling outreach coordinator, “Around 41 percent of this was diverted from the landfill.”
Landfill is the products thrown into trash cans that goes into the ground, unable to decompose due to the construction of the landfill. “During move-out weeks, many students forget to separate their trash because they often wait until the last minute and are rushing to get out,” says Lacey Raack, sustainability director, “The majority of actual trash bags that go into landfill during move-out is a small amount, the size of 2 hands cupped together roughly in many bags.”
The sustainability office and volunteers are partnering up with local organizations to achieve CSUMB’s zero waste goal during the fast-paced last weeks of school. Knowing what goes in each trash bin is an imperative to reach this zero waste goal.
Landfill is anything that is not decomposable like straws and most plastic cups, Compost here goes to the enerbic digester, breaking down all food waste like meat, dairy and some but not all compostable plates, and recyclables are anything that can be melted down to create something new or reused.
Recycling/trash bins and donation carts will be available on Main Campus, North Quad, Promontory and East Campus between the period of May 11-May 31 (Available in East Campus May 11-22, May 26-31).
CSUMB’s community can donate these items in lightly used condition: toiletries, linens, clothing, household items, blankets, shoes, furniture (good condition), canned and dry goods, frozen goods and cleaning products.
“CSUMB’s waste diversion rate goal by 2020 is 80 percent,” says Raack. This means that out of all of the waste consumed by CSUMB, the master plan strives to divert 80 percent of it into reusable or compostable resources, compared to the 20 percent that was diverted last year.
“I have noticed a spike in ecological fear around the office as well as the nation while Trump announces his executive orders to defund money from the Environmental protection agency (EPA),” says Raack, “but this is even more reason to keep on fighting and moving forward with our allies.”
The Huffington post recently reported on the executive order signed by President Trump in an office at the EPA (Environmental protection Agency). It’s titled, “Energy Independence Executive Order,” which starts the revision of Obamas Clean Power House plan that reduces and regulates carbon emissions from power plants. This reimagined notion of change, that may take years to implement, offers to temporarily lift bans on coal leasing on federal lands and eliminates any factors impacting climate change when reviewing policy and decision making.
“While it is important to remember the three R’s, reduce, reuse, recycle, the most important, yet often forgotten is the fourth “R”, refuse,” says Raack, “buyers have the real power so it is important to know where you put your money and how much waste you are consuming so it doesn’t end up in the linear cycle of waste.”
Here are some tips for move-out week if you wish to contribute to CSUMB’s ambitious zero waste goal: try to eat all your food and push yourself to not to a lot of grocery shopping weeks before move-out. Try having a floor potluck or do you plan on taking a weekend trip home? Start lugging your stuff now.