Recycling project takes a next step

Zach Sullivan, Reporter

Bakersfield College’s Leadership Academy recently ran a week-long recycling pilot program in an effort to cut waste and increase recycling on campus, which went well, according to Tarina Perry, an administrative secretary at BC who is in charge of the initiative and helped organize the pilot program. Perry said that in just five days, the program’s collection bins gathered 20 more pounds of recyclables than the week before the program began.

“We’re still compiling the data, but one of the things we have discovered as far as the recycling weight, we took the weight the week before and we collected 26 more pounds than we averaged the week before the program. So just in the one week we collected 26 more pounds from Monday-Friday than we had from Sunday-Sunday the week before. I think that showed the advertisement, the education was good and was an improvement for one week so I think that is great, it shows potential,” Perry said.

Perry said the program not only benefited the school by collecting more weight in the bins, but also helped inform her and her team about what they can do to improve the program, including better labeling of bins, more education on what goes into what bin, and better placement of bins throughout campus.

“We did the survey in the cafeteria for just the students, and after we did that we decided to do a survey for staff as well. The results were very encouraging. We had 50 students respond to our survey, which was great. We found they needed more signage and more education among other things,” she said. Perry said that even she believes the signage was somewhat confusing, and that the pilot program helped confirm her suspicions. “I don’t think the signage was ideal. I think it was OK, and it goes to show you that the things we learn through the pilot is you have to have the right signage, the right size bins for the right facility, and the right number, because if you’re on your way to class and the signs are hard to read, you won’t use it.”

Perry believes the event was beneficial to everyone involved, including the students and her team.

“I think this was a great thing to do. Not only did we find out what students and staff need, what works and doesn’t work, and we got free bins from a local organization during the whole process, so I thought it was a win-win.”

Perry explained that the first pilot test program was held only at BC, but she hopes to implement a pilot program district wide at BC’s Delano campus, Cerro Coso and Porterville.

Perry said she would like to thank her team, which is comprised of Becky Rock from Porterville College, Elmer Aguilar from Cerro Coso, Chris Dison from BC-Delano, and Victor Diaz from BC, for all of their work in helping organize the program.

According to Perry, the team will present its plan to the Facilities and Sustainability Committee April 5 before their final presentation to the Chancellors Cabinet on April 28. If the plan is approved, Perry hopes to see it implemented before the end of the calendar year.