California State University, Fullerton

CSUF News Service

Learning the Three 'R's of Sustainability

Campus Urged to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Aug. 27, 2014

logo for campus zero waste effort

Tuffy Titan graces the new logo for the campus zero-waste effort.

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Cal State Fullerton alumnus Kevin P. Mattson '08,'10,  who earned bachelor's and master's degrees in geography, has returned to his alma mater with one goal in mind: to help the University become even more sustainable, particularly in the ways it handles waste, from paper towels and grass clippings, to construction materials and traditional recyclables.

As the University's new sustainable waste management specialist, Mattson brings a wealth of experience in sustainability planning and waste reduction. In addition to his academic degrees, Mattson has earned a sustainable business management certificate from UCI and LEED AP Building Design and Construction certification from the Green Building Certification Institute. Prior to joining the University, he served as a program manager with Waste Management Inc., where he was involved in developing waste reduction and waste diversion programs for such commercial property customers as JW Marriott, AEG and Kilroy Realty.

"It's a good time for me to join the campus," said Mattson. "Cal State Fullerton has turned its focus on being more sustainable with the 2011 signage of the Talloires Declaration, a statement of commitment to environmental sustainability in higher education, and the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, a framework to implement comprehensive plans to pursue neutrality.

"In addition, the University has taken many steps toward being more ecologically aware and responsible," Mattson added, pointing to the construction of the trigeneration plant that creates roughly half of all the power used by the campus and in an environmentally friendly, more cost-effective way; removal of chemicals from cleaning products used on campus; water conservation through the planting of drought-resistant plants, introduction of drip irrigation and the installation of low-water flow fixtures; retrofitting the campus lighting to be more energy efficient; and the installation of a photovoltaic system.

What is involved in being a sustainable waste management specialist?

As the sustainable waste management specialist, I will plan, develop, integrate and coordinate the campuswide waste and recycling program.

What type of programs are you overseeing?

Obviously, I will be overseeing the waste and recycling programs on campus, but I also will be overseeing the waste- reduction programs, such as restroom air dryers and reusable bottle refilling water fountains.

What new programs are currently in the works? Why are these efforts important?

Waste efforts, guided by the three Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — make sense environmentally, economically and socially. For example:

  • They reduce our burden on landfills. Existing landfill sites are filling up fast, and there is very limited space and infrastructure for new ones.
  • They conserve raw materials. Making new products out of recycled materials reduces the need to mine or extract virgin resources.
  • They save energy. Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses considerably less energy than using virgin resources. For example, recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a laptop or TV for three hours.
  • They save money. If we can reduce the amount of waste we have to send to the landfill by expanding onsite composting, or by increasing the collection of recyclables, we can reduce paying heavy landfill fees.
  • Community leadership — following the waste hierarchy of reduce, reuse, recycle at Cal State Fullerton, will provide a responsible example for students and the local community to spread to their future careers and communities.

What are the rewards for the campus?

Next year, I am excited for Cal State Fullerton to participate in Recyclemania – an eight-week, friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.

What should members of the campus community remember/do about sustainability?

As the new recycling program becomes more and more available throughout the entire campus, it is important for the Cal State Fullerton community to remember to "Stop. Think. Sort." In other words, we all need to take the brief time to properly learn how to dispose of our waste and recycling properly. A recycling program begins and ends with the community's participation and personal responsibility, in order to be successful. We will be educating the campus on proper recycling. I know the campus community is up to the task of becoming a leader in recycling.

Tags:  Campus Updates