Skyline graduates to a new recycling program


The San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) wants to do their part in becoming more environmentally aware.

On October 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1826, requiring as of Jan. 1, 2016 that all local jurisdictions such as residential dwellings and businesses across the state implement an organic waste program.

Any organic waste such as food waste, green waste, landscape, and non-hazardous wood waste can now be recyclable in the state. According to “California disposed of approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills each year, of which 30 percent could be used for compost or mulch”. In compliance with AB 1826, Mandatory Commercial, Organics Recycling, and SMCCCD introduced composting bins on campus this past week as part as the Zero Waste Program. According to the website there are student waste audits that show at least 75 percent of waste could have been removed from landfills if other forms of recycling were available.

Beginning in the fall of 2017, composting will be introduced in a series of stages as follows: 1) cafeteria kitchens (pre-consumer) 2) paper towels in bathrooms, 3) cafeterias (post-consumer) 4) outdoors, and 5) classrooms, offices, break rooms, and hallways. Skyline College campus Sustainability Coordinator, Mary Thomasmeyer who is a part of the Climate Core Fellowship Program (CCFP) stated that the government puts other CCFP recent grads into schools and governments to work towards sustainability programs. After several years of composting behind the counter in the cafe and cafeteria, Skyline is looking to make composting bins available to students by placing bins around the first floor of Building 6.

On Oct. 31, 2017 the Environmental club unveiled the new composting bins on the first floor of Building 6 during lunch time. The Environmental Club promoted public composting by placing club members by the new bins to raise awareness of the bins’ presence and to inform students and faculty of what goes into each bin.

Environmental Club member Isac Lam said, “We also help install programs that help bring composting trucks over to get the compost where it belongs.” He explained that the biggest compostable items are food and they encourage the college administration to try to add in the budget composting logistics to cover the cost of the composting services.

“Hopefully now it comes across people’s minds that it is important to separate your trash,” Thomasmeyer said.

When asked about how she draws attention from students to the new bins, Environmental Club member, Keilan Wiitala responded that you just try to engage with them.

“It is sometimes hard to do that, because some people are in a hurry and just throw their trash anywhere. But you just have to stop people to ask them about composting,” Wiitala said. The Environmental Club members also handed out buttons to grab Skyline students’ attention and promote their cause.

The Environmental Club members that had the most foot traffic were posted in front of Pacific Dining Cafeteria. One member, Linea Badillo said that she is noticing a difference as they stand there directing traffic among the bins. She said that it is not that difficult to separate waste between the bins.

Badillo’s club mate, Mariela Francisco said, “don’t be trashy,” as a response to students not always taking the time to learn about what’s compostable and what isn’t.