Recycle, Please

WHERE+ARE+THE+BLUE+BINS%3F+In+November%2C+2016%2C+LBCC+removed+the+special+receptacles+for+recycling+when+its+waste+service+moved+to+a+mixed-waste+processing.+
WHERE ARE THE BLUE BINS? In November, 2016, LBCC removed the special receptacles for recycling when its waste service moved to a mixed-waste processing.

WHERE ARE THE BLUE BINS? In November, 2016, LBCC removed the special receptacles for recycling when its waste service moved to a mixed-waste processing.

WHERE ARE THE BLUE BINS? In November, 2016, LBCC removed the special receptacles for recycling when its waste service moved to a mixed-waste processing.

By Matthew Magill, Alexa Cervantes, Elliott Nerenberg, and Katherine Quezada

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It provokes curiosity.

Where are the recycling bins? Do I just toss my plastics and other recyclables into the trash?

With days reaching up to 90 degrees in early August, Long Beach City College has no recycling containers for the countless empty water bottles students drink from.

“I don’t know if they got rid of them or what,” LBCC custodian Lucy Aguero said of the blue recycling bins.

While it is clear that some of the staff have been left in the dark regarding where their trash goes, one is forced to wonder whether or not the student body is just as knowledgeable. However, the miscellaneous bottles strewn about campus can lead one to conclude that the students may not be informed.

According to online sources such as Bulk Handling Systems and Waste360, there is a more efficient way to recycle called mixed waste processing, in which both recyclables and other wastes are thrown into the same container and sent to a facility for sorting and processing. This new way of collecting trash as well as recyclables is supposed to make the process faster and easier for both the consumers and workers.

Ken Chong, another LBCC custodian, offered another perspective on where the recyclables are going.

“The trash people now recycle [on their own],” he said.

Chong was referring to Athens Services, which is the main waste pickup service provider for LBCC.

In October 2014, Athens spent $50 million on a new mixed waste processing facility in City of Industry, according to an article on the BHS website.

When Athens Services were contacted and questioned as to what the mixed waste process entailed, they refused to comment.

Further research resulted in the discovery of some negative consequences stemming from mixed waste processing.

Waste360 states that several of the consequences include “health risks for workers exposed to hazardous waste” as well as “eliminating opportunities to educate consumers on the impact of their consumption habits.” These negative aspects call into question the value of such a system.

Not only has no explanation for the disappearance of the recycling bins been advertised to students, faculty and staff, but the current method of waste disposal has been proven to negatively affect those who utilize the process.

So, bring back those blue bins. We are all adults. We can toss our empty water bottles in there just as easily as we can put them into a mixed-waste container.

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