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As part of the CSUDH Day of Service (California State University, Dominguez Hills, CA) and the Clean Earth Challenge, 20 student volunteers participated in a campus cleanup. The goal was to collect trash to make their campus environment cleaner and to spread awareness about how important it is to prevent trash from entering the waterways that lead to the nearby ocean.

The Office of Sustainability and The Center for Service-Learning, Internships & Civic Engagement (SLICE) helped organize the event led by Zero Waste Coordinator and TRUE™ Zero Waste Advisor, Scarlett Zamora.

For the cleanup, the entire campus was split into quadrants and participants were designated rows. For example, the 20 volunteers were split into four groups of five people and were required to clean each designated row.

Each group was also given one black bag for trash, one clean bag for recycling, and a collection card to reference items in the correct waste stream by using the How to Sort your Waste handout that was provided. This made it easier to count and sort after the cleanup.

Most items found included various wrappers like chip bags, candy wrappers, etc. as well as paper products and miscellaneous plastic materials. The total amount of trash collected around campus was 1,670 pieces.

Scarlett states that volunteers learned the importance of keeping trash off the ground as much as possible because wildlife can confuse pieces of trash for food, not to mention keeping our oceans litter free. They also learned that simply picking up a piece of trash on the way to class and putting it in the proper disposal bin can make a big impact on keeping their campus clean.

As the Zero Waste Coordinator and TRUE™ Zero Waste Advisor, Scarlett also notes that the entire event was zero waste. “Volunteers were provided with reusable gloves and were advised to bring their reusable water bottles. All bags used for this clean up were emptied and given back to custodial services to use for serving campus trash and recycle bins. The only items that were trashed/ recycled were the items found during the clean-up.”

Way to go volunteers, SLICE and Scarlett for helping keep CSUDH and the surrounding environment clean!

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