The campus U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) non-profit organization student group sketch, design, and construct products and items from recyclable materials to create new items for new functions and tools.
They find recyclable items by looking around campus and looking for anything they can use, such as collecting water bottles. Another way they find items is by dumpster diving. When they do, they look for reusable wood, plastic or anything recyclable they can use, and they go anywhere, the club Vice President, Jacky Cheng explained.
“We go anywhere, if we see material we’re like ‘Let’s go!’” said Cheng.
By reusing recyclable materials to create new functions, they not only help the environment by recycling but create art as well. By collecting these materials they plan to create a wooden table out of reusable wood, modular planters, signs made out of cardboard, and have even used water bottles to put plants in.
“It’s kind of just turning trash into art” said Cheng.
Group member, Marielen Macias explains that everyone should be doing this because it’s fun and is helpful to our environment.
“Why isn’t everybody doing this, to be honest? They are cool plants and they are nice to look at and made out of things you don’t want that are just sitting there until the next time you recycle and it ends up being good for the environment,” said Macias.
A project they are currently working on is the modular planters, where they create different types of planters based on where the plant is going to be, such as for indoors, on an office desk, or outdoors.
What the group mainly wants to focus on is having planters for indoor environments and build off that idea.
“We kind of want to build something that people can actually feel and have in their office,” said board member, James Verdesoto. “Because usually when you’re in the office you’re there all day and sometimes you just need a breath of fresh air.”
By having a plant indoors, the group wants to give options to people who do stay inside all day and don’t necessarily have the time to be outside to have the opportunity to still have a little bit of nature with them wherever they are.
“You can always have a planter right next to you. It’s always nice to take care of it, and it’s also really therapeutic to take care of a plant,” said Verdesoto.
The process in how they create the modular planters is that they first begin their design and work on it for a few days. Once the design is done they send the design to the laser cutter to bring the design to life. Once that piece has been laser cut they sand the piece or choose to leave it. And last, they assemble the piece altogether.
President Edgar Vivanco explains that another fact of modularity is that from the extra pieces that are not used they can reuse those and create something else.
“The other part of modularity is that you can compile a bunch of the same design together and create a latest structure,” said Vivanco.
Once pieces are assembled, when the PCC Flea market comes around the group display’s their work for sale and show the many environmental ways they are helping our planet, one step at a time, while creating useful everyday functions, as in as the modular planters.
Another project USGBC is working on is the vertical garden. The vertical garden idea came into progress when the group met with local gardeners in the Pasadena area.
“I was in contact with a couple of gardeners in Pasadena and then one of them asked our group to create a vertical garden for them, so we created a design and presented it to them,” said Cheng.
For the two current projects, the group wishes to integrate them to have easy access to both.
“We are going to try to integrate the modular planters and the vertical garden so it’s easy to access in and out,” said Cheng.
The USGBC student group meets in IT 230 on Fridays from 2-3 p.m.