Recycling; LCC Physical Plant

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Lansing Community College Physical Plant has collected over 1,800 pounds of plastic water bottles, aluminum cans and glass bottles since February 23, 2011.

“We went from emptying trash dumpsters 3 times a week to twice a week, a tremendous savings to the college,” said Lonnie Arens, custodial staff for the Lansing Community College (LCC) Physical Plant.

Arens started working for the Lansing Community College (LCC) Physical Plant in 1989, he said.

“Our recycling efforts were just beginning when I started,” said Arens. “The recycling program back then was driven by the savings found by reducing the number of times our trash dumpsters were serviced for emptying.”

It was strictly newspaper and magazines, white office paper and mixed stock paper when we LCC’s recycling program began, said Arens.

LCC’s recycled materials are collected and picked up by Granger Recycling at the designated loading docks of the main buildings at both main and west campus locations, said Arens. These include the Arts and Science building, Sykes Technology and Learning Center, Human Health and Services building and the Michigan Technical Education Center.

“We have Rubbermaid recycle containers in all office workroom copy areas across campus,” said Arens. “We recently purchased 60 gallon wheeled collection carts for the lobby entry areas and corridors to collect plastic water bottles, aluminum cans and glass bottles.”

The custodial department employed 16 students for part time positions to empty recycle bins across campus and purchased three Rubbermaid wheeled recycle truck and carts to transport the material to the collection points.

LCC’s Physical Plant occasionally drops off large bulk pallets of old schedule books and college catalogs to the City of Lansing recycling substation facility, said Arens. The Physical Plant is currently undergoing changes in its sustainability efforts.

“We are very involved with sustainability and recycling,” said Tim Martz, Manager of Field Operations for LCC Physical Plant. “We are currently updating our recycling containers and labels to make our process a more user-friendly procedure.”

Arens is a member of the LCC Sustainability Advisory Committee that promotes student involvement in sustainability efforts, coordinate special recycling events and update the recycling program, he said.

“Lonnie worked with our print shop to obtain new labeling to increase awareness and participation by all to sort trash into the appropriate container,” said Beckie Beard, chair of the Sustainability Advisory Committee at LCC. “This involved not only relabeling containers, but fitting containers with lids with slots that indicated the type of product (can, bottle, paper) that should go into the container.”

.                 The Michigan Recycle Coalition assessed the program in 2010 and many recommendations were made for our program, said Arens.

“Our changes to improve the effectiveness of the recycling program are based on the report from the coalition,” said Arens. “We have named our improved recycling program, Recycle Like a Star.”

The program is named after the college’s athletic program, the LCC Stars, said Arens. Labels were printed and attached to each recycle container with the new trademark in order to raise awareness of the improvements made to the recycle program.

“The coalition brought to our attention that we needed to easily identify the purpose of each Slim Jim recycle container to clarify what material went into each container,” said Arens. “The Rubbermaid lids for the Slim Jim containers were purchased for this reason.”

Launching the Recycle Like A Star program will increase student involvement in recycling, said Beard.

“We have several students interested in our recycle efforts,” said Arens. “We have had students request to tour and observe our recycling program.”

“We have had great success with participation from faculty, staff and students.”

The Sustainability Advisory Committee organizes a “dumpster dive” every year for the student’s Spring Fling that is held on campus, said Arens. Trash is collected the night before from the major buildings and students who attend the Spring Fling are asked to sort the trash into recyclable categories.

“The participants receive a free t-shirt for their effort and it is a great way to raise awareness of recycling and that the college participates in reducing waste by recycling,” said Arens.

Students, such as sophomore Thrishanna Martin, view the LCC’s recycling services in a different light.

“I don’t think the recycling services are too prevalent at LCC and I noticed that the recycling bins have regular garbage bags in them,” said Martin. “This causes people to just throw trash in them.

There are blue recycling bins in every classroom, said Martin. However, the bins in the Gannon Building are the only ones that are actually used for recycled products.

Arens and Beard are determined to see the program flourish with student involvement.

“We are constantly looking to improve our program to increase awareness,” said Arens. “Recent budget issues have limited the future expansion of the program, but we are determined to do what we can with the funding and staffing we are provided.

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