The Crafton Hills College campus is a hillside campus with natural greenery, energy-efficient buildings, and a minimal amount of litter. However, even though trash is picked up and the campus looks clean, that does not mean that the school is doing its part in the community when it comes to reducing, reusing, and recycling. With limited student body education on recycling, a higher ratio of general trash cans to recycling bins, and mixed waste in trash and recycling bins anyway, there seems to be a large demand on campus for someone to do something to make sure that Crafton Hills is helping keep our community and planet clean. As a student at Crafton Hills, I believe there are several things that can be done on the campus towards this goal and the best way to ensure all steps are being taken towards becoming a greener campus, there should be a club dedicated to recycling on campus and in our neighborhoods at home.
There are several student organizations at Crafton Hills College including an ‘Ecology Club’ whose page on the CHC website sites their purpose “to advocate for environmental awareness and to appreciate and preserve local wildlife areas.” They participate in hikes, camping trips, trash pick ups, and recycling trips which are all great activities for students interested in nature and protecting it from the damage that humans and our trash can have on it. However, I am more interested in starting a club with a focus on recycling on campus and bettering our school while educating the students that don’t necessarily have the time to join a club or even to do research on their own at home. Our recycling club would focus more on putting up signs with clear recycling instructions, better and more recycling bins, and encouraging members to learn as much as they can and spread that knowledge beyond our campus to our own homes, neighborhoods, and other communities.
In California, recently there has been a massive shut down of recycling centers following a Chinese ban on imported waste materials due to contamination or poorly sorted recyclables (McDaniel). According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, when convenient recycling centers close, residents are less likely to recycle their containers and redeem their bottle deposit because they have to travel further and wait in longer lines at redemption centers (“Lessons From Other States”). Also, with so many recycling centers closing following China’s ban, it is now important to change our disposal practices since much of what is sent to a recycling center cannot even be recycled in the first place. Piper McDaniel of The LA Times encourages Californians to be conscientious of what kind of materials they are putting in their blue bins because “scrap waste is piling up in warehouses and parking lots” and “some is ending up in waterways, oceans, landfills and incinerators.” On our campus, we can educate students and faculty on what is recyclable with easy to read posters near most or all recycling bins. This decreases the likelihood of non-recyclables getting sent to already full facilities and creates proper recycling practices that can be carried out off campus as well.
In 2017, a comprehensive master plan for Crafton Hills College was written to provide a clear developmental direction for the education and facilities of our school. It is nearly 500 pages long and the term ‘recycling’ is only mentioned twice as a brief note that recycling bins should be added and “strategically placed” (2017 CMP). As a student, I have noticed blue recycling bins in most classrooms, but not all of them, and hardly any around the campus. Additionally, the bins within the classroom usually have non-recyclables and compostables in them while the regular trash cans often have recyclable materials in them. Having a student organization whose sole focus is recycling and being green on campus is more likely to yield results than if recycling remains a footnote to the College Board or student senate. Determined students like myself can volunteer our time and efforts to getting more conveniently located recycling cans as well as making sure the right items go into the right cans.
What I am proposing is no easy task, but luckily there are resources available that can aid a recycling club in productive and effective work. CalRecycle is the short form name for California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery and on their website they provide information and advice on how to get your school involved in a more comprehensive recycling program. They offer “award-winning recycling starter kits” to help businesses, gyms, and schools begin recycling and reap the benefits of doing so such as “reduced disposal costs,” “greenhouse gas emission reductions,” “increased efficiency of school operations,” and “decreased associated purchasing costs” (“School Waste Reduction”). Not only would a club dedicated to campus recycling be good for the environment, it would be favorable for Crafton Hills College as well. Furthermore, if student or faculty volunteers were in charge of recyclable container disposal, the repaid deposits could go directly back into the club’s campus recycling program.
A successful recycling club could reduce Crafton’s waste, educate students and faculty on proper recycling techniques, and benefit the school and its facilities. So how can the success of such a club be guaranteed? The best way to encourage students to join the club is for it to count as community service hours or some sort of student leadership, especially since the College Honors Institute requires a minimum of 15 volunteering hours to complete said program (“Membership Requirements”). It is also important to make sure the club is visible by participating in club rush, using word of mouth, utilizing posters, and being listed on the Crafton Hills website. Any involved professors can also acknowledge the club’s meetings and ventures briefly in their classrooms to let students know about it. The most important thing, however, is keeping students who choose not to join or are unable to join still involved in recycling on and off campus.
Often, people think that tossing an empty bottle in a blue recycling bin is enough to not feel guilty about the way we treat our environment, but it is not. Crafton Hills College can get involved in cleaning up California if there is a student organization dedicated to making it easy to recycle and to recycle correctly. With education, volunteer hours, and an effective campus recycling program, Crafton students and faculty will be able to honestly say they are doing their best to keep unnecessary waste out of landfills and our environment.
2017 Comprehensive Master Plan. PDF, Crafton Hills College, 2017, www.craftonhills.edu/faculty-and-staff/committees/educational-master-plan-committee/chc-comprehensive-master-plan-20170320.pdf. Accessed Sept. 29, 2019.
“Ecology Club.” Student Life, Crafton Hills College, https://www.craftonhills.edu/current-students/student-life/clubs/ecology-club/index.php. Accessed Sept. 29, 2019.
“Lessons From Other States to Address California’s Redemption Center Closures.” LAO, Legislative Analyst’s Office, April 10, 2017, https://lao.ca.gov/publications/report/3649 Accessed Sept. 29, 2019.
McDaniel, Piper. “As California’s Recycling Industry Struggles, Companies and Consumers are Forced to Adapt.” LATimes, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 14, 2019, www.latimes.com/environment/story/2019-08-13/california-recycling-industry-plastics-china. Accessed Sept. 29, 2019.
“Membership Requirements.” College Honors Institute, Crafton Hills College, https://www.craftonhills.edu/academic-and-career-programs/college-honors-institute/membership-requirements. Accessed Sept. 29, 2019.
“School Waste Reduction.” CalRecycle, California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, Feb. 6, 2019, www.calrecycle.ca.gov/ReduceWaste/Schools. Accessed Sept. 29, 2019.