Californians around the state are missing out on up to $350 million in unclaimed recycling funds due to a lack of recycling centers in the last five years – only 68% of bottles and cans are recycled, which leaves the rest of the discarded household recyclables to sit in what is known as “recycling deserts.”

In a report by Dustin Gardiner from the San Francisco Chronicle, a surplus has been built over the past couple of years because residents do not have access to recycling centers as they once did. Many recycling sites have been affected due to uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

PCC students can readily find recycling bins near or around the quad area, but are most campus students aware of these bins? Finding recycling drop-off centers outside of campus can be easily found, but how easy is it to find recycling bins around campus?

“It’s all about more awareness,” Christian Montoya, vice president of sustainability, said. “It’s not the fact that more recycling bins are present; it’s about overall awareness.”

Students on campus have lots to worry about and properly recycling your trash might not cross their minds while zipping towards their next class. Bringing awareness to the school campus can incentivize more students to recycle. The school could potentially consider joining the Pasadena Zero Waste Partner Program to boost student involvement. There are currently seven businesses in Pasadena that participate in the recycling program – PCC’s sister campus, Pasadena Community College Education Center, is one of them.

“The institution itself actually didn’t provide the recycling bins; the PCC Flea Market donated them,” Montoya, VP of sustainability, said.

Montoya says that students could be encouraged to recycle their trash more if they have some form of awareness, even if it’s as subtle as eye-catching flyers posted around the school.

“It’s the small things like that that can make a difference,” Montoya said.

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