By Cliff Fernandes
At the end of every school day, the green suited workers of an understaffed recycling department dig through the trash in order to sort and separate all the materials that should have been disposed of in a different colored bin.
During an Earth Day event on April 18, City College’s Recycle Center and other organizations set up tents at the Wellness Center Plaza, to raise awareness on the environmental sustainability projects that would help San Francisco achieve its goal of sending zero waste to landfill.
Recycling Coordinator Carlita Martinez identified three areas City College’s recycling department struggles with.
“There’s not enough classified recycling staff so it hinders our progress, we still send two tons of compost or recycle materials a day to landfill and students need to learn what trash goes where, because they are contaminating the compost and we have to spend time separating and sorting,” Martinez said.
Contamination of the compost bin involves disposing of inorganic material such as paper and plastic bottles in the green bin where organic material, mainly food is supposed to be thrown away.
People have done well disposing of biodegradable material, however the effects get canceled out when the compost bin gets contaminated. Martinez said, “In San Francisco if the compost is contaminated by more than three percent it gets sent to landfill.”
Currently there is only one other classified employee for the recycling department working with Martinez, the rest are student workers who take care of City College’s satellite centers at the Chinatown and Evans campus.
“Students are coming and going. If we can’t get hep or get some people who can come over and volunteer to help, we need a national clean up day. Have people come over and get credit because we do need help,” classified recycling employee Timothy Harper said.
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