Orange Coast College Opens Impressive New Recycling Facility in Costa Mesa

Orange Coast College recently finished building a larger recycling facility and opened it to the public. Construction crews worked on the new center for about one year and four months; it cost more than $7 million to build. The Adams Avenue facility covers approximately five acres. Staff members celebrated the project's completion by holding a special event and cutting a ribbon in front of the recycling center.

Significant Upgrade

The college began to offer recycling services over four decades ago, but it used a considerably smaller facility in the past. Its new building and parking area cover five times as much land as the original center. The structure features offices, showers, a meeting area and other rooms. It remains open throughout the week. Visitors benefit from a greatly expanded parking lot that accommodates up to 45 vehicles.

Recycling Services

People from cities across Southern California travel to OCC's recycling center. They can drop off a wide range of materials and unwanted equipment. In addition to glass containers, the facility accepts tin and aluminum cans. It also recycles defunct appliances, metal scraps and some plastic containers. The center collects an assortment of paper products that range from magazines to cardboard.

Staff members compensate visitors for certain materials. For example, they pay 56 cents for each pound of HDPE plastic. The facility provides standard California Redemption Value payments to people who bring empty beverage bottles. This means that they receive 5 cents for each small can or bottle and 10 cents for larger containers. The center pays for glass, aluminum cans and PET plastic on a per-pound basis.

Californians can recycle many different electronics at Orange Coast College. Its recycling facility lets them drop off computers, TVs, monitors, printers, projectors and fax machines. The center also provides a convenient place to bring fluorescent lights or small batteries. Staff members work to ensure that these items don't pollute the environment when people dispose of them. Electronic waste often contains harmful substances like mercury, cadmium or lead.

The facility even collects old clothes and cooking oils. On the other hand, there are a few objects and substances that it cannot recycle. It doesn't accept boat or car batteries. The same goes for chemicals, paint and engine oil. Likewise, visitors can't drop off old furniture. The center limits loads of plastic bottles or aluminum cans to 100 pounds. Each person may bring glass bottles weighing up to a half-ton.

Major Benefits

This recycling program doesn't merely provide locals with a way to free up storage space and gain a few dollars. It also saves a substantial amount of energy while working to keep the Golden State's air and water as clean as possible. Thanks to OCC, less waste enters landfills and fewer acres of forest must be logged. The center helps people conserve resources like oil, bauxite and limestone.

Eco-Friendly Design

This facility doesn't only protect the ecosystem by recycling things. It also features building materials and lighting systems that were selected with the environment in mind. Photovoltaic panels generate electrical power for its offices. This decreases OCC's environmental impact by reducing the amounts of natural gas and coal that local power plants must burn. The school plans to verify the center's efficiency with environmental certifications.

Funding Providers

Orange Coast College paid for this facility with money from multiple public and private benefactors. For instance, it received cash from a government bond associated with Measure M. This bond supplies funds for infrastructure improvements at OCC and two other colleges in Southern California. It helps these educational institutions offer a wider range of classes as well. A majority of local voters supported Measure M.

The center also received funding from a company known as CR&R Environmental Services. This firm recycles various materials for California, Colorado and Arizona residents. It regularly collects reusable waste from millions of Southern California's homes and businesses. This company works to educate locals about recycling as well. To recognize the firm's contributions, OCC named two classrooms after CR&R founder Cliff Ronnenberg and wife Janet Ronnenberg.

Leaders' Remarks

College and local government officials commented on the new facility. The mayor of Costa Mesa highlighted its economic benefits in her remarks. Orange Coast College's president noted that the center had created numerous jobs. Its predecessor also supplied students and other locals with employment for many years. When he explored the new building, fellow OCC official Michael Carey jokingly asked someone to pinch him and suggested that the tour seemed like a dream.

Vision 2020

This new recycling facility represents one portion of the college's "Vision 2020" development plan. It intends to replace an old planetarium and construct dorms as well. The plan defines a number of important goals. It calls for OCC to modernize buildings, supply convenient housing for students, enhance security and cut operating costs. Another objective is to make it easier for pedestrians and drivers to navigate the campus.

About OCC

In 1947, Costa Mesa voters approved a ballot measure that allowed officials to create a community college on the site of a former military base. Workers quickly began to convert old U.S. Army buildings into educational facilities. They established a gym, an auditorium, administrative offices and a library. Another spacious room was set up to host weddings and movie screenings. Orange Coast College professors started educating students only a year later.

Today, over 20,000 people attend OCC classes. The college recently renovated its science building and added a coffee shop. Learners may choose between 135 different educational programs. This WASC-accredited school schedules classes during all four seasons. Students can play team sports and join various clubs. Numerous undergraduates eventually transfer to private or state universities. Learners pay affordable tuition and fees while preparing for a wide variety of careers.