The campus green initiative looks good on paper, and great on site, but tells a different tale in practice.
Biology laboratory assistant and student, Amanda Roelant said, the college is doing a good job with the recycling centers, but there is room to improve.
“Some students don’t know how or what to recycle,” she said.
Blue recycling bins are placed around every corner and in the classrooms, but plastic bottles are being thrown away in trash cans next to the bins.
“Seeing water bottles in the trash is so infuriating because it’s easy to put it in the blue container,” Roelant said. “It’s worth the extra steps.”
Director of campus planning and facilities, Jack Burns said there is an emphasis on green recycle and recyclable content on campus.
“We’re getting there, but there’s always room for growth,” he said.
Some receptacles are labeled to help students properly recycle cardboard, plastic, and paper, but recyclables still end up in the trash.
“It takes minimal effort to take them to the right containers,” Burns said. “Be more aware, it’s the right thing to do.”
The mileage has helped with energy efficient conversions that are underway and to come at MCCC.
“With the millage, we’re trying to introduce sustainable options, but progress takes time, and change takes time,” Roelant said. “We have an old college, my dad went to this college, and we have to do our best to keep it up to date and to keep MCCC green.”
The lights will switch over to LED lighting, the carpet is being replaced, the roofs are being redone, and custodians are using green clean products, Burns said.
“We’re switching the carpet over to squares mostly made of pop bottles and are easily recycled,” he said. “You wouldn’t know because they’re really soft.”
Recycled pop bottle carpet is already in the CTC building, and the sensor hand-dryers in T building are going to be integrated to all the bathrooms on campus.
“It was a good starting point,” Burns said. “We will do it as we renovate each building, which is gonna take us 8-10 years.”
Weatherization and preventative maintenance will bring new doors and windows, but also prevent pollution.
“Storm water pollution prevention plan deals mostly with salt water removal,” he said. “Salt washed off our vehicles won’t run-off to the ground water.”
Roelant said there is a lot we can still do to be a greener campus.
“Composting is a very simple thing to do,” she said. “It’s easy to turn biomass back into biomass rather than letting it rot in a plastic bag.”
In the greenhouse, there are plenty of leaves and cuttings that get thrown away that could be used to give back to the environment.
“We have to complete the cycle as energy and nutrients in the leaves go back to the circle of life to make more,” Roelant said. “We don’t allow it to give back.”
In the cafeteria, Styrofoam is used for take-away containers that cannot be recycled, and will never go away.
“You can’t industrialize nature and you can’t control the environment, but you can control how the population interacts with the environment,” she said.
Education is key to informing and improving the lives of our community.
“Maybe if we’re the ones giving the info, we can give them the awareness to figure out what to do.”