BC campus working on going green

Zach Sullivan, Reporter

In an effort to cut waste and increase recycling on campus, Bakersfield College has partnered with BARC and the Bakersfield Public Works Department Solid Waste Division in holding a week-long pilot program to gauge how effective a permanent and organized recycling program would be.

Also, the organizers want this endeavor to educate students on how the recycling program works, according to Tarina Perry, an administrative secretary at BC.

BARC is a non-profit organization that employs intellectually and developmentally disabled people here locally and, according to Elida Lopez, the recycling division assistant manager, has been working with BC for the past four years to better the recycling program on campus.

The school has three bins in the cafeteria students can use for the next week as part of the pilot program, which began Feb. 22.

With an event hosted by Perry and BARC in BC’s cafeteria, and runs through March 1.

According to Perry, her goal is to gather information and inform students about the benefits of recycling. She said, “Our goal is to find out what the students need. Is it about the education, do they want composting, do they want recycling, and is this something they would be excited about?”

Perry explained that while she has received lots of positive feedback, she noticed many students were not educated on which bins food and trash go into.

“They are excited about this, however, they are not familiar with what goes in what bin,” she said. “They do not understand, for instance, the food that’s in the plastic, they thought the whole container went into the food bin. They didn’t know you dump the food out and the plastic goes in a different bin. So educating the student and the staff is a key part of this.”

Perry believes that implementing the program would be beneficial to the school in a number of ways, including raising money for the school through recycling as well as helping keep the campus clean.

She explained that while BC has to pay for the bins currently on campus, the revenue the recyclables generate offset the costs.

“Right now the bins cost money, however when the product goes to the outside recycling company, they recycle the item and the revenue comes back to us which supplements the cost of the bins. So it’s a win-win,” Perry said.

She explained that BC just received a gift of over 60 bins from the city, which will allow the school to put more bins out and hopefully lead to more profit from the recycled materials.

“We got 43 bins donated, and we also got 34 Pepsi bins donated,” said Perry.

Perry said she has to still present her plan to BC’s chancellor committee, but if approved hopes to have the permanent program in place by next fall.

Michael Gallegos, 18, a BC student, felt the event in the cafeteria put on by Perry and BARC helped him become more informed about the importance of recycling.

Gallegos said he agrees with Perry’s plan.

“I think we should implement it,” he said.

“I’ve been to campuses like UCLA where it’s mandated, and they have specific trashcans for each different type of recyclable, and it’s obviously profitable if you can take that and make money from it. Why not make money and make the campus look good at the same time?”