Trustees adopt pledge for plastic free campus in 7 years

Cerritos+College+geology+club+pledges+to+remove+plastic+from+campus.+Their+plan+will+take+seven+years.+Photo+credit%3A+Vincent+Medina

Cerritos College geology club pledges to remove plastic from campus. Their plan will take seven years. Photo credit: Vincent Medina

Lily Marmolejo

The Geology Club encouraged Cerritos College board of trustees to adopt a new policy called Break Free from Plastic, this resolution is meant to decrease the amount of plastic used on campus with a seven year plan.

The College is the first community college to join 390 campuses across the country in committing to the post-landfill action network’s break free from plastic pledge.

“Removing plastic from a campus is easier said than done,” said Treasurer of geography club Gisselle Delgadillo

The pledge serves three purposes including a purchase policy eliminating campus and food vendor procurement of nonessential, non-compostable, single use disposable plastics; commitment to plastic free alternatives; and an investment in education, resources and infrastructure to assist in a plastic-free campus transition.

More information regarding the college’s green campus sustainability initiatives can be found here.

Primary objectives are to use water conservation, waste management, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create energy efficient improvement programs and promote green facilities that meet the U.S. green building council’s leadership in energy and environmental design standards.

Raul Leon, former club member and geography major, has helped students raise awareness regarding the negative impact plastic has on the environment. This club’s motive for enforcing the program at Cerritos is to lower the overall consumption of plastic and promote the use of environmentally friendly products instead.

“Growing up in East Los Angeles [I lived] in a low income community currently being impacted by big refineries, petroleum refineries and trucks in their backyard not knowing that they created plastic,” said Raul, “A big population of the students at Cerritos live by these by these refineries breathing these things in not realizing how greatly this affects us.”

According to the Wilmington Resource Guide, “Every day in Los Angeles, people breathe unhealthy air that causes asthma, lung disease, cancer and premature death. Low-income communities of color have more than our fair share of toxic hot spots that pose significant environmental hazards to human health and safety.”

Geography club member Hector Ledesma said, “What motivates me to be a part of this club and initiative is that I have always wanted to make a difference in my community. This is the perfect opportunity to take a stance and show others changes can and will be made.”

The college’s seven year plan to eliminate plastic is broken down into small increments, removing a different plastic item each year. The first item will be plastic bags followed by the removal of plastic cups, utensils, single use sauce packets. The ultimate goal is to create a campus free of waste.

The club would also like to implement more water stations on campus promoting the use of reusable water bottles. Members of this initiative are holding the school accountable to make a difference.

The committee provided alternatives to the plastic items and decided upon including representatives from different departments on campus, faculty and students enabling their initiative to spread across campus.

Established by geography majors, it created the opportunities for students to interact with one another and create long lasting relationships as well as encourage and educate other students on how to take care of the planet.