The "Race to Zero Waste" began Feb. 7 with a kickoff event in order to raise awareness to the event. Courtesy: Marissa Miller

Poly Canyon Village (PCV) has been challenged by the Green Campus Program to produce the least amount of trash waste to compete against more than 180 other universities across the United States in the Recyclemania challenge.

The event, named “Race to Zero Waste,” began with a kickoff event Feb. 7 and will run until March 8. During this month, Green Campus members will continuously measure the waste output of PCV, hold events such as Waste Audits where volunteers can help learn to organize waste into recycle, compost and landfill, and host two clothing swaps Feb. 28 and March 1.

Students who attended the Zero Waste Kickoff said they felt the event was important to help students further understand recycling and sustainable living.

“There’s so much we can recycle that hasn’t been done, it’s so cool to see there are ways we can improve,” Huasna resident and industrial engineering sophomore Tara Loayza said.

Waste is measured by dumping the landfill and recycling bins out and sorting the items, keeping track of all items in each bin. Then the landfill waste is moved into a garbage truck and the data is loaded into a system and logged onto the Recyclemania website. Students can follow the progress of the event through the Green Campus Race to Zero Waste Dashboard.

“PCV is a more isolated community with a very diverse range of people — freshmen, continuing students — and a lot of different ways to approach people,” Green Campus leading team member of “Waste to Zero Waste” Daniel Sandborne said.

The goal of the event is not only to win the challenge, but to promote a zero waste lifestyle and improve students’ quality of life. In order to do this, Sandborne — along with the other Green Campus members — will  hold events to teach students about going zero waste.

“One of the best things they could do is educate themselves on what sustainability entails and why we need to be sustainable and get involved in the sustainability community,” chemistry sophomore
Sandborne said.

PCV resident advisors have been involved in motivating students to go zero waste by checking in on their students, sending out emails, passing out flyers and answering questions about how to live a zero waste lifestyle.

“Especially with eight-person apartments, trash is a big problem and gets talked about a lot,” PCV resident advisor and political science junior CJ Campbell said.

Campbell and PCV resident advisor and theatre arts sophomore Christa Santos both feel it is important to emphasize the importance of using the “Race to Zero Waste” to make an impact.

“It is a part of our lives that we don’t pay attention to, but it is involved in our everyday life and it has a bigger impact than in just our rooms,” Santos said. “You have to zoom out and gain a bigger perspective on how your tiny impact can leave ripples in the world.”

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