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California State University, Long Beach
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Recycling Center Modernizes

Part of the CSULB campus since 1971, the Associated Students Recycling Center is going through somewhat of a recycling process of its own.

“Nobody had really taken a hard look at the Recycling Center for a while,” said Richard Haller, executive director of Associated Students Inc. (ASI), the entity that oversees the center. “We were pretty much reactive and adapting to things happening at the state and university level.”

A long-term think tank meeting involving ASI staff and student leadership took place in August and emerging from that was an agreement to meet on a regular basis and develop short- and long-term plans and goals for the center.

“I am very enthusiastic about it,” said Lee Johnson, a 31-year veteran of the recycling business who was hired as the recycling coordinator last April. “The students had good ideas. The staff members had good ideas. I think we’re going to really revitalize the program.”

The center is already extremely busy, collecting and processing more than 110,000 pounds of material that might otherwise be disposed of in landfills. The center manages an extensive campus- wide recycling program and also accepts community drop-offs.

For example, the center takes in approximately 300,000 beverage containers. Aluminum cans recycled at the center in one month save the equivalent of 7,488 gallons of gasoline, or enough energy to operate a television 24 hours per day for 55 years. Soda and water bottles recycled each month conserve 88,000,000 BTUs. Monthly paper recycling conserves 213,500 gallons of water and 518 trees, and one month’s glass recycling saves 3,650 pounds of mining waste.

“The center has been an important part of the campus and surrounding communities helping with recycling and environmental education for the past 36 years,” Johnson said. “I think with the newly committed support, we will revitalize the program, improve and expand our services, become self-supporting and continue the student vision of being ‘part of the solution’ for years to come.”


Students and recycle cans

Above, students were the driving force when CSULB began its recycling program in the early 1970s. Today, the center is still mainly staffed by students and is moving toward modernization to better serve the campus and local communities.