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Recycling not viable for LACCD students

With a recent waste management contract approved by the LACCD, the nine colleges should be better informed on how and what can be recycled.

Opinion by Cassandra Nava, Managing Editor

With few outlets for recycling on campus, Monarchs are forced to dispose of recyclable materials into trash cans. Valley College offers little to no means for one of the easiest acts an individual can do to make an environmentally conscious decision.

Valley is not to blame for the problem; it is up to the district to fund an adequate amount of receptacles, as well as a reliable plan for collecting and sorting materials.

The LACCD took a step in the right direction earlier this year and signed a three-year, $1.7 million contract with waste collection company Republic Services. The board’s decision was approved unanimously for waste and recycling services on all nine campuses.

Although any advancement helps with recycling efforts, the decision seems to come last on the list of needs following hefty construction projects throughout the district’s campuses.

Construction affects the environment negatively — with pollution, energy consumption and potential waste in runoff waterways. The Valley Academic and Cultural Center has been under construction for six years. While certifying new buildings as “green,” the environmental impact of their creation should be considered first and foremost.

A way for students to minimize their carbon footprint should be first on the list of district expenditures.

Recycling at Valley has been a years-long struggle; so much so that a student had to take matters into his own hands in 2018, as he formed a committee to investigate the college’s actions and educate peers on the subject.

Valley produces significant food waste from the cafeteria and child development center, and it is currently not being sorted out, according to the district’s initial request for a contract. Due to the college’s various shrubbery, there is also a large amount of green waste. Both food scraps and leaves can easily be composted, a process that allows organic materials to be repurposed into fertilizer.

The worldwide issue of mass consumption and waste should not fall on the shoulders of the individual. But in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, individuals should take the extra, easy steps to keep the planet livable for future generations. Keeping waste out of landfills directly impacts how much methane is released, which is a harmful gas that forms when trash decays.

The LACCD’s recent deal is not enough for the largest community college district in the country. It is a start. Next, colleges should educate students on the importance of sorting materials to ensure that they are doing their part to reduce unnecessary waste from littering our already overflowing landfills.

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