Green Efforts holds eighth annual “Recycle Dive”

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Chanda Fraulino
The results from the eighth annual “Recycle Dive” November 14, 2019 in Glendale, Ariz.

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Glendale Community College Green Efforts committee held its eighth annual “Recycle Dive” on the lawn just outside of the library Nov. 14.

Over 50 students attended the early-morning event to learn about what can and can’t be recycled. Faculty from departments such as Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Geology encouraged students to volunteer and offered extra credit for participation in the dive. Biology residential faculty Dr. Robert Reavis led students throughout the event with the help of several other professors and staff.

The purpose of the dive was to sort through an entire day’s worth of recycling to see how much of GCC’s material is contaminated. Contaminates are materials found in recycling bins that cannot be recycled.

Once bags of recycled materials were dumped onto tarps, they were sorted into three categories; clean recyclables, contaminated bottles/cans, and garbage.

According to GCC Recycling Coordinator Chanda Fraulino, some common contaminates found include Styrofoam cups, plastic bottles with liquids inside, glass bottles, cups with wax coating, and straws.

“Students tend to put bottles in the recycling that still have liquids in them,” Fraulino said. “Anything that still has liquids in them is considered contaminated and it ends up in the landfill, even though it made it in the right bin.”

The dive was held one day before America Recycles Day a nationally recognized campaign that aims to bring awareness to recycling each year on Nov. 15.

“We’ve done a pretty good job of continuing to reduce the amount of recyclables that are put into the garbage, and to reduce the amount of garbage that’s put into the recycle bins,” Reavis said.

According to statistics provided by Fraulino, about 79 percent of sorted material from this year’s dive were clean recyclables, a nearly 5 percent improvement from 2018, and the cleanest mark since Green efforts began the event in 2012. Nearly 6 percent of recycled material was contaminated, a 13 percent decrease from last year’s sort. However, the amount of garbage found in campus recycling bins also increased, jumping from about 7 percent in 2018 to 15 this year.

Besides recycling, Green Efforts is working on several other events related to sustainability this year, including an educational film series, guest speakers and a dumpster dive on Earth Day.

 

*Editors note: Percentages have been rounded to whole numbers for clarity.