Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

By Joel Navarrete Ayala

Green Campus (Campus Verde) is a college initiative that encourages and educates on how to responsibly manage the planet’s resources within and outside of campus. It coordinates activities to create consciousness about the importance

Some of the recycling waste bins that are situated around the UPRM campus.

of living in harmony with the planet. Dr. Sandra L. Cruz-Pol is the director of the project and works alongside Roberto Torres Martinez who is the Recycling Program Coordinator of the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez.

“Green Campus presents and implements measures ranging from planting trees, cleaning beaches, film forums, conferences, concerts, and community trainings. Most of these measures helps you save money, to be healthier or both” Dr. Sandra L. Cruz-Pol said.

A plastic bottle takes 100 years to decompose. The recycled plastic bottles are used to produce other products, not only to make new bottles as happens with glass and aluminum. Hence the importance of reducing: buy fewer plastic products, avoid products with too much packaging, and avoid buying plastic water bottles. It is best to use the same bottle with filtered water.

“Currently we have an activity titled ‘Let’s Create a Mountain of Plastic Bottles’ that started October 18 and ends October 24” Dr. Cruz-Pol stated. “The mountain is set in front of the cafeteria and our goal is for people to pick up any misplaced bottle they come across and deposit it in this area to create a mountain.”

“On Monday evening, a group of Green Campus members and I will count and bag the bottles so that Mr. Torres Martinez can make the arrangements to have them picked up and taken to a recycling facility” Cruz-Pol said.

The initiative has only about 170 recycling trash cans around the campus, and several large containers. “We are currently working to get more because sometimes people look for one and if they don’t see one right away they just throw it on the ground or in a regular trash can” Dr. Cruz-Pol said.

How to be environmentally friendly? Well, we can start by “living green” and this is to change our consumption patterns and to look for greener alternatives, natural alternatives to our every services and products. The idea is to buy wisely, consume less, waste less, and think about the consequences of our purchases. To live green is to reduce the impact on the planet and on our peers by making better decisions that will help the environment, and everyone in the world.

“In the past years Green Campus has planted dozens, if not hundreds, of trees around campus” Dr. Cruz-Pol mentioned.

Monday night at UPRM bagging the bottles gathered at the Mountain of Bottles activity.

Trees help prevent global warming by taking advantage of the CO2 produced by human activities and transforming it into clean breathable air. “The shades that trees produce help reduce the electricity consumption in your home because it can drop the temperature in your home by 10 degrees” said Dr. Cruz-Pol who is an Electrical Engineer herself.

Some ways to reduce your electrical bill, and at the same time help the environment, is by using compact fluorescent light bulbs with which you can save up to $ 150 per bulb over its life, because these utilize 1/4 of the power and have a lifespan 10 times longer than that of a regular bulb. Also, a phantom load is the electricity consumed by an appliance that is turned off but it’s still using electricity. They represent 5-15% of your electrical bill. The best thing you should do is to disconnect all appliances when not using them.

“We also have an online webpage that is in which people can find our latest news of recent events concerning Green Campus and other recycling activities” Cruz-Pol commented. In this page, one can find a lot of downloadable materials on how to implement subtle changes in our homes, offices, schools and businesses to help conserve the planet and save some money along the way.


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