National coalition chooses JCCC as outstanding recycler

September 27, 2016

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The National Recycling Coalition selected Johnson County Community College as its higher education award winner for 2016.

The organization gives singular awards in the categories of for-profit and non-profit businesses, governmental organizations and exemplary individuals as well as higher education. NRC's goal is to recognize outstanding recycling programs so they might be studied and shared with the 23 affiliate organizations that comprise the NRC.

In its press release, the NRC singled out JCCC for the college's "tradition of proactively connecting students to work in recycling and diversion through internships at the Center for Sustainability. These efforts have led to partnerships with community organizations, and significant 'green' changes on-campus."

One such example was the increase of waste diversion, which is the amount of material once destined for the landfill that now is recycled, reused or composted.

"These efforts have increased diversion from 14 percent to 51 percent since 2010, helping them progress toward their 'Zero Waste by 2025' goal. Community partnerships have also raised more than $135,000 for scholarships," the group publicized.

Michael Rea, project manager for the Center for Sustainability at JCCC, said the scholarship amount has now increased to nearly $145,000. Sales of bottles, cans, paper and other plastics are directed to student aid from containers placed strategically throughout the campus.

"This award is a testament to the entire college's commitment to not filling the landfill with items that have a good use somewhere else," Rea said.

The award, given during the Resource Recycling Conference Sept. 1 in New Orleans, joins another sustainability award presented to JCCC that month: the Climate Leadership Award, sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council and Second Nature.