Senate Bill 1383 beginning in 2022, requires homes, businesses and schools to compost food waste. It appears LPC ignores this California law with no apparent composting program on campus.
Per the LPC website, the reason that Las Positas does not recycle or compost is that it costs money. There are no details provided on how much money it would cost, yet the Chabot-Las Positas College District expects a $2.7 million surplus in the 2022-23 budget. Some of the surplus funds could be used for recycling and composting.
In 2022, a Zero Waste Campus Assessment was conducted of the campus by the Post-Landfill Action Network to assess its waste management system. LPC scored 41.2% overall for zero waste. The report stated, “campus recycling is too contaminated with non-recyclable materials to be sent to a recycling facility and therefore almost all collected recycling on campus is sent to the landfill.”
Recycling not only saves energy and water but also helps reduce global warming by reducing energy needed to make new material. However, in the US only 32% of recyclable material is recycled. We can do better.
The advantages of recycling are many: in savings of energy, water and reduction of landfill space. One ton of recycling aluminum reduces energy use by 95% compared to making new aluminum. Per Stanford University, one ton of recycled aluminum saves 14,000 kilowatt hours (Kwh) of energy and 40 barrels of oil. This energy could power 7000 average homes. Recycling one ton of aluminum reduces landfill by 10 cubic yards.
Each ton of recycled paper saves 7000 gallons of water and 4,000 kilowatts. This is enough energy to power an average home for six months.
Recycling also reduces pollution and greenhouse gasses as less energy requires less fossil fuels to generate the energy. About 60% of the electricity produced in the US is still generated by fossil fuels. A typical landfill uses about 600 acres of land, destroying natural habitats for wildlife.
Composting also helps reduce global warming as landfills emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Organic waste in landfills accounts for 20% of California’s methane emissions which is a climate super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Las Positas should recycle and compost in an effort to reduce its impact to the environment.