Welcome to the City College Recycling Center

Help Us Achieve Zero Waste: Use Less - Recycle More - Close the Loop!

“We’ve realized that the dangerous level of CO2 – the amount that could push us past the point of no return – is a lot lower than we thought. Once that happens, the dynamics of the climate system will take over – and then were out of luck.”

James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies

We can manage our waste, but only if we work together - your help is needed!

Go to the Recycling Guide

Learn more about our Waste Management Strategy

Remember! When you “trash it” rather that “recycle it” you contribute to global warming, deplete natural resources, waste energy, increase pollution and throw away jobs. Ton for ton, recycling reduces pollution, energy consumption and GHG emissions more than any other activity besides source reduction.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are lowered:

Virtually all climate scientists are warning us that green house gas emissions from man-made pollution are driving global warming. We are rapidly approaching the tipping point for ecological catastrophe. Recycling is a highly effective means of reversing this trend. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,recycling reduced carbon emissions by nearly 50 million metric tons in 2005,the same as removing over 40 million cars from the road. On average,approximately 1.67 metric tons of CO2 equivalents are avoided for every ton of municipal solid waste we recycle. Recycling is a key tool for climate change mitigation both now and in the future.

Natural resources are conserved:

Recycled materials reduce the pressures for harvesting forests,mining ores and minerals, and consuming fossil fuels. Replacing virgin materials with recycled industrial inputs allows the production of new materials and products while conserving scarce natural resources. In fact, recycling reaps critical environmental benefits at every stage of the product life cycle- from eliminating the extraction of raw materials to diverting waste from the landfill.

Energy consumption is reduced:

Since recycled materials have already been refined and processed their use is cleaner and less energy-intensive than virgin material inputs. Virgin resources must be mined from the earth, transported great distances and processed with industrial machinery before they can be used as product inputs. This cycle requires massive amounts of energy and results insignificant greenhouse gas emissions. Recycled materials use significantly less energy. For example, manufacturing with recycled aluminum uses 95% less energy,recycled plastic saves up to 70%, and recycled paper yields up to 40% in energy savings. Less energy used means less burning of fossil fuels reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.

Landfill waste is diverted:  

Landfills are designed to be anaerobic, meaning that very little air remains below the surface. Organisms that thrive in anaerobic conditions digest food waste, paper, grass, and other organic matter generating landfill gas, which contains carbon dioxide, methane, volatile organic compounds (VOC), hazardous air pollutants (HAP), and other odorous compounds that can adversely affect public health and the environment.  Fifty percent of landfill gas is methane, and surface emissions remain the single largest man-made source of this powerful GHG,which traps 21 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The good news from the California Integrated Waste Management Board is over 60 percent of the “garbage” in California landfills can be composted or recycled, greatly mitigating these problems.

A healthier environment is preserved:

Decreasing the need to extract and process new raw materials reduces, and often eliminates, the introduction of toxic materials such as ammonia, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons to the environment. Emissions of VOC contribute to ground-level ozone formation capable of reducing or damaging vegetation growth as well as causing respiratory problems in humans. Exposure to HAP can cause a variety of health problems, such as cancerous illnesses, respiratory irritation, and central nervous system damage. Recycling directly reduces waste and pollution which means cleaner land, air and water, reduced greenhouse gases,and an overall healthier society. Forests, open spaces, wetlands, rivers,oceans and other vital habitats are preserved, wildlife is protected, and the essential ecosystem services that sustain life are maintained.

Jobs are created:

Recycling means thousands of jobs both nationally and for California. Nine jobs are created for every 15,000 tons of solid waste that is recycled whereas only one job is created at the landfill. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency says the recycling and reuse industry is a significant force in the U.S. economy, consisting of approximately 56,000 establishments employing over 1.1 million people. It generates an annual payroll of nearly $37 billion, and grosses over $236billion in annual revenues. “Downstream” economic impacts are spurred by the multiplier effect of support industries such as accounting firms and office supply companies. The recycling and reuse industry also generated roughly $12.9billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues, with 80 percent going to federal and state government. California hosts approximately 5,300 recycling and reuse establishments employing 84,000people. This generates an annual payroll of $2.2 billion and $14.2 billion in annual revenues.

A more sustainable economy is supported:

The resources we have are finite, as are the carrying capacity of life-sustaining ecosystems, and the environmental sinks which absorb the waste we create. Ecological economists are informing us that the unbounded/unlimited growth economy of classical economics is a dangerous myth with catastrophic environmental repercussions. To the contrary, the material basis of our economy is strictly subject to the laws of conservation of mass and energy (neither matter nor energy can be either created or destroyed), and the law of entropy (energy, once used, looses its capacity to do work). Our environment, and our economy which exists within it, are therefore thermodynamically constrained. The point is that the matter and energy we transform into waste is overtaxing all of our life-sustaining ecosystems. Recycling mitigates this process and buys time for developing more sustainable sheltering, manufacturing and transportation technologies.