Environmental club increases efforts to avoid $50,000 fines

Photo by The Mesa Press staff

Recycling bin on Mesa's cafeteria.

Laura Sonnenfelt

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The Environmental Club is working on making the campus a more earth friendly place. Not only would it make Mesa more conservation orientated, it could also save Mesa from future fines.

State law requires all state facilities to put 50 percent of their waste toward recycling each year. Mesa College had 42.7 percent recycling in 2004, the only community college in the district not to achieve the goal, and again did not make the cut last year.

Around the Mesa campus there are approximately 150 trashcans, however recycling bins are scarce. The only place students, faculty, and staff can currently find these bins are inside buildings.

Everywhere, except the cafeteria, the bins are limited to mixed paper only- no glass, no cans, no bottles, which eliminates the opportunity for many recyclable products to be recycled on campus. And even the mixed paper bins aren’t being recycled 100 percent of the time.

What Mesa students don’t know is that anything that isn’t paper that is put in these bins can contaminate the entire bin of otherwise completely recyclable mixed paper. According to Clark Fryrear, the Mesa Environmental Club president, one contaminate will send that bin to the trash, thus making the effort basically useless.

At the present time, the only place on campus that recycles cans, bottles, and glass is the cafeteria.

“The cafeteria is the model for recycling, they do it all on their own,” said Fryrear. He stated they get no extra funding for recycling; it’s just something that is important to them.

The Environmental Club is looking to update Mesa’s current recycling program, perhaps to the standards of the cafeteria, but is running in to problems due to lack of funding.

“Bins are entirely too expensive,” Fryrear states.

One decent recycling bin can cost as much as $500, money that the club does not have.

They are planning to construct a wooden bin and receive permission to place it outside on campus. By doing this, they hope people will use the bin enough to generate a small profit. Once they get enough cans and bottles they will take the recyclables to the recycling center themselves. They intend on putting the money generated towards more suitable bins.

While it is true that at the current time Mesa students, faculty, and staff do not have the resources necessary to recycle to their utmost potential on campus, plans are underway.

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