Employees told not to remove recycling from campus

Mario Mena, president of the California State University Employees Union for Chico State Photo credit: Eric Mccauley

A recent directive by the facilities managerial staff is asking custodians not to remove recyclables from university trash bins.

In September, a custodian was seen taking a bag of cans and bottles from a building,said Mario Mena, a University Housing and Food Services maintenance staff member and chapter president of the California State University Employees Union.


The entire facilities custodial staff was called into a meeting shortly after the incident and was told that they were not allowed to take any recycling from buildings, he said.

When the union was notified by custodial staff about the new directive, Mena asked members of university human resources to share their new policy. He said he was told that there was no official policy.

“Employees are unsure of what the boundaries are,” he said. “And the university has not offered any clarity. I have had several FMS employees come to me with concerns that if they try to fight the directive, they will lose their jobs.”

Custodians are not asked, and the university does not want any employee going through and sorting other people’s garbage, said Dylan Saake, director of Labor Relations and Compliance.

It is also not a problem if employees take their own cans or bottles as long as they are not taking the recyclables once they are in an Associated Students recycling bins, he said.

The Associated Students owns the recycling bins on campus under contract and receives all recycling proceeds from the bins.

When people are taking large amounts of the cans and bottles from university buildings it appears that they are taking them from the AS recycling bins, Saake said.

The custodial staff has always known that they are not allowed to take anything out of AS recycle bins and are trained not to from the beginning of their employment, Mena said.

When employees see a can or bottle that was not placed into a recycle bin, it’s easy for them to put it into a separate bag on their cart, he said.

The union will continue to press the university to release an official policy, Mena said.

Eric McCauley can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

A previous version of this article misattributed Dylan Saake, director of Labor Relations and Compliance.