CSUDH Goes Green With New Recycling Programcsudhbulletin February 19, 2020 0 COMMENTS
By Brenda Verano, Staff Reporter
A big part of the estimated 600 tons of solid waste that Toros produce annually are plastic water bottles. In an effort to reduce that amount, the university is participating in a pilot program, The Recycling Machine Pilot, featuring innovative recycling machines that may lead to a greener campus.
Olyns, a recycling company launched in 2019, is rolling out recycling machines at select campus locations and signing up students and faculty and staff as beta test subjects in an exclusive pilot program to determine what exactly incentivizes people to recycle and how to encourage people to recycle more.
“We hope to make recycling easy, convenient and accessible, and we want students to be able to experience that on their campus,” Philip Stanger said, co-founder of Olyns.
According to its website, Olyns’ mission is to “drastically reduce the amount of beverage containers going to waste as well as to shift the perception of these recyclables from garbage to valuable resource.”
CSUDH students, faculty and staff who sign up as the test subjects will receive an email link to download a beta app which will grant them exclusive access to the vending machines where they will be able to drop their plastic beverage containers and ultimately receive incentives for the amount they recycle.
The recycling machines will be located on the third floor of the library, as well as the Building A laundry room in the dorms. Initially, the pilot program was only available for iPhone users but developers are working on creating an Android version that will be available in the next two weeks.
Stanger also said that incentives are important to help the increase of recycling.
“The California Redemption Value (CRV) are social and community incentives,” he said. “CRV is what consumers pay every time they purchase beverages in aluminum, glass, plastic containers. Californians can receive CRV refunds when they redeem the containers at a recycling center.”
The exact incentives for Olyns exclusive pilot program are still to be determined, but could range from stainless steel water bottles, stickers, eco-friendly reusable products to many other prizes.
The partnership with Olyns is the latest effort by the CSUDH Office of Sustainability to reduce its carbon footprint.
“We are aiming to ensure CSUDH does everything it can to become a net zero waste campus,”
CSUDH Sustainability Manager Ellie Perry said. “The thing that will determine whether we succeed, is whether we can convince Toros to culture shift into a reduce and reuse first mind-set.”
The first time CSUDH was nationally recognized for its environmental sustainability efforts was in 2018 by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), certifying CSUDH as a STARS Bronze institution.
“The office of sustainability is planning on submitting reports to AASHE in 2020, in which they’re aiming to help CSUDH receive silver, with future efforts directed to advancing the campus to gold and platinum,” CSUDH Sustainability Manager, Ellie Perry, said.
Only 13 miles north from CSUDH, Loyola Marymount University (LMU), diverted the most amount of waste from landfills of any college in America or Canada, having 89 percent of its waste materials recycled, according to RecycleMania, a zero waste competition.
With the help of student interns and volunteers, the Office of Sustainability has continually improved recycling infrastructures to help educate the campus on reuse and recycle principles.
These principles are embodied in the new “green projects” that have been implemented to campus since the 2018-2019 Toro Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), a fund where CSUDH students were eligible to submit an idea for a campus project that would facilitate campus sustainability.
Some of these projects include the newly upgraded recycling bins and the additional bottle fillers around campus that have made it easier for students to reuse water containers, instead of purchasing single-use plastic water bottles, a key constituent of supporting the CSU Chancellor’s Office single-use-plastic policy which mandates the elimination of plastic water bottles by 2023.
Toro Tokens have also served as incentives which consist of a one-time $5 purchase used to request reusable containers instead of disposable ones at Toro Fresh.
“I think people forget that when they put something in the ‘trash’ it really means putting it in the landfill, “ said Perry. “When you recycle, you’re giving items a second life.”
The Recycling Machine Pilot Registration survey has been extended to Feb. 28, and is now open to CSUDH students, faculty and staff. To sign up go to https://tinyurl.com/tororecyclepilot.