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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Garbage display shows a year’s worth of cups

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While heading to their classes, students cast curious glances at the dozens of plastic cups laid out. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Dozens of clear plastic cups reflecting the afternoon sun captured the attention of students passing by between the Student Services Center and Bell Memorial Union Monday.

Approximately 365 plastic cups were laid out by Associated Students Sustainability to visually represent the waste of using a single cup every day for an entire year.

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The visual representation of what it would like for one person to use a plastic cup each day for an entire year. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

The group has been involved on campus since 2006, and recently led the campaign to ban plastic straws at Chico State.

The cups were gathered from trash bins around campus last Saturday morning.

Education and Outreach Coordinator of AS Sustainability, Maggie Scarpa, hopes the display raises awareness.

“We’re doing this to bring momentum about the problem of waste on our campus and our cities,” Scarpa said.

Although recycling is a priority for the campus, Executive Vice President of AS, Jared Geiser, explained one of the difficulties they face.

“Paper cups are compostable, but most cups come from bioplastics so they are destined for the landfill,” Geiser said.

Geiser and Scarpa stood outside from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with other AS interns answering questions and providing information about environmentally smart practices.

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Jared Geiser answers questions and provides information about recent statistics concerning sustainable practices like recycling. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson
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All the cups were collected from trash cans found throughout campus. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

One suggestion for eliminating more waste was to remove the ice coffee cups from the dining halls and replace them with paper cups, which are more degradable.

Scarpa maintained there’s always room for improvement especially at a campus with such a long history of sustainability.

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Live Love Juice Co. is located in downtown Chico and sells drinks in reusable glass bottles. They reward customers with a punch card when they bring in their reusable bottles. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

“There’s no perfect solution, but I bet there’s something that can be implemented decently at Chico State,” Scrapa said. “We really need to start refusing things that we don’t need, and reducing things that we do need and reusing.”

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Recycling can also be functional. The basket was made from rolled magazine pages and the buttons are all made from recycled sources. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

One opportunity students have to develop more sustainable practices and help increase awareness on campus would be participating in the zero waste challenge presented by AS Sustainability.

Students will carry around all the trash they individually produce in bags or mason jars for the length of a day, week or month anytime between October 1 and October 31. Prizes will be given out weekly and students interested in getting involved can sign-up in BMU 005.

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The Zero Waste Challenge begins October 1 and students may participate for any length of time as a way to become more aware of how much waste one person creates. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Olyvia Simpson can be reached at [email protected] or @OSimpson15 on Twitter

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