Over the past decade, recycling at Cal State Fullerton has evolved from throwing away cans and bottles to recycling dirt, cardboard and many other items students may not think could be.
The process of recycling varies from one waste disposal company to another, but the most common process on campus is the single stream system.
“All of the trash goes into one trash can and it gets sorted later at a place called a material recovery facility,” Leaa Short, the CSUF sustainable waste management services coordinator, said.
In 2012, CSUF disposed of 10,939 tons of trash, which is down from 11,641 tons the previous year.
Out of that garbage, about 53 percent of it is recycled.
However, some students are unaware of how the school gathers and gets rid of trash left around campus.
“I’ve never seen the recycling bins around, I’m pretty sure they just throw (the trash) away,” Diana Rojas, a freshman majoring in health science, said. “Maybe after they gather all the trash, they go through it.”
The state has placed regulations on how much and in what manner the trash is disposed of at CSUF.
“There are a lot of regulations, just on waste in general has a lot of regulations. But because CSUF is a state agency we also have additional regulations on top of that, that we have to follow as a state agency,” Short said.
The state places quotas on how much CSUF recycles compared to how much trash goes to the landfill. The regulation states that CSUF must recycle at least 50 percent of its waste.
Bills that have been passed in the state legislature regarding waste disposal are AB 75, AB 939, SB 1016, and AB 341.
Those are the major regulations that the Cal State Fullerton campus and other state agencies must follow.
“Those are the really big deal ones that mandate that we have to recycle 50 percent of all of the waste that we generate. The laws have changed a little bit recently so that the way that things are reported now isn’t so much 50 percent of all the waste that is generated, but it’s on a per capita basis,” Short said.
The bill AB 75 was created to help with the recycling effort in any state-run agency, according to the government website CalRecycle.
It was created in 1999 and mandates that at least 25 percent of the used waste has to be recycled, which is different from the regulations that are in place now.
CSUF began its recycling program after the bill passed in 1999.
If students are interested in participating in the recycling effort on campus they can help by working with the campus’ sustainable waste management services.
Although some students aren’t aware of the major efforts that CSUF takes to recycle its materials on campus, many recycle at home and do it for personal reasons.
“I recycle in bins, take it and get profit out of it,” Mayra Gverrero, a freshman majoring in computer engineering, said.
Rojas said she likes to recycle because of the positive effects it has on the environment around her.
Many people may think that recycling is exclusive to aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass, but CSUF recycles more concrete and agricultural compost than any other single recycled material.
The recycling program on campus is a group effort and will be changing in the next couple of years.
As more students begin classes on campus each year, the recycling program will adjust and grow.
For more information visit Fullerton.edu/Information/Recycle.