- OCCC Pioneer - http://pioneer.occc.edu -

Group makes efforts for greener campus

Many people walk around campus throwing their trash away without any regard towards what harm it could do to the environment. The Green Task Force is one group on campus that would like to reshape this attitude.

They think about the environmental cost every time they see someone throw an aluminum can or a plastic bottle in the regular trash receptacles instead of the recycling bins placed nearby.

A survey of 10 students and staff earlier this semester asked if they recognized these bins and if so, do they use them?


Two people said they did not notice or use the recycle bins while two people said they noticed them but neglected to use them.

Six out of the 10 people said they noticed and used the recycle bins on an everyday basis.

This provides some hope that the task force is making progress.

The Green Task Force is a group consisting of mostly college staff members led by Lisa Teel, director of emergency planning and risk management.

Teel said the organization gets many ideas from surrounding colleges. The organization is trying to get every person on campus to consciously throw their trash in the correct bins so the reusable materials can be recycled.

Besides recycling materials on campus, the college also aims to help the effort by providing a market for recycled products. In 2012, OCCC purchased 160,935 pounds of materials containing recycled content such as copy paper, paper towels, envelopes, printing cartridges and printing paper, according to a report provided by Gary Phillips, Building and Campus Services supervisor.

OCCC recycled or sold 91,711.60 pounds of reusable items collected on campus, according to the same report. These included 29,000 pounds of mixed office paper, 25,000 pounds of cardboard, 4000 pounds of books, 8000 pounds of plastic, and 3000 pounds of aluminum. The campus also recycled 960 pounds of oil and chemicals, which are extremely harmful for the environment, Phillips said.

The Green Task Force worked with facilities management to strategically place blue paper recycle bins across campus, Teel said. There are now more than 50 paper, aluminum, and plastic recycle bins around OCCC for staff and students to dispose of products rather than placing those items in the trash.

This is in addition to two Dream Machines, Teel said.

PepsiCo, Waste Management, Greenopolis, and Keep America Beautiful joined together to create what is known as the Dream Machine recycling initiative aimed at raising the U.S. beverage container recycling rate from 34 percent to 50 percent by 2018, Teel said.

One Dream Machine is located in the cafeteria and the other is in the Main building south of the Coffee Shop.

When someone recycles items in the machines, they are designed to calculate how much the person has recycled and prints out how many points it was worth. Later the person can get on www.greenopolis.com to redeem their points to acquire coupons and rewards. It is the first interactive recycling system that brings together online and on-street technologies, Teel said.