The Mills College Botanical-Ecology club is making the lush
campus greener, one recycling bin at a time. Over the past year,
the club has been working to raise awareness about, as well as
expand the on campus recycling program.
After going through classrooms and seeing every trash can full
of paper coffee cups, the club banded together with the Mylls
Women’s Collective, in an effort to drastically reduce the amount
of trash generated on campus through the Tea Shop. The goals of the
“Reduce-Recycle-Reuse” (the three R’s) Campaign are more than just
reducing waste; they also plan to educate students on the
importance of maintaining a sustainable earth. This includes a
reusable mug for use at the Tea Shop.
“The mug idea is expanded to institute a tradition where every
incoming undergraduate and transfer Mills student will be given a
mug at the beginning of each semester.
The mug will contain an insert that explains the three R’s and
explains how campus recycling works, said a proposal submitted to
the ASMC by the club.
In addition to decreasing the amount of waste generated, the
Botanical-Ecology Club is negotiating to get the Tea Shop to give
people who use their mugs a slight discount, like at other
establishments, as their cost of paper cups is diminished by the
“It’s saving them money, said Annie Flores, junior and club
At a campus like Mills, boasting a ratio of seven trees for
every enrolled student, it is no surprise that students wish to
work towards a more earth-friendly alternative to throwing their
recyclables in the trash. Even the club’s field trips work towards
their desire to help Mills become a “greener” campus; their last
field trip was to the Ecology Center in Berkeley, whom they
convinced to attend the Earth Day Fair at Mills on April 22. On
their field trip, the club learned alternate ways of conservation
that go beyond simply sorting one’s trash. They learned that there
are places to purchase or donate gently used (but not completely
consumed) goods for low prices.
Students are more inclined to recycle when bins are as
accessible as trash cans. For example, last semester, Orchard
Meadow had one area in the basement to place recyclables, but
multiple trash rooms in every wing. This semester, thanks to the
Botanical-Ecology club, there are recycling bins in half of the
trash rooms. They surveyed all the buildings, started posting
information, and let Campus Facilities know where recycling bins
were needed. The club is proud to boast that there are three large
recycling dumpsters; one behind Warren Olney Hall, one behind the
Tea Shop, and one behind Larson House. In addition to this, they
have posted lists of what is recyclable by the bins and by the end
of the semester, students will be able to recycle their used
batteries in on campus receptacles.
“We want to leave behind a legacy,” says club President
“Redwood” Mary Kazcorowski.
Even Founders Commons has gotten in on the effort to create a
“sustainable earth” environment. Signs on the bulletin boards boast
that Founders is recycling and composting, drastically reducing the
amount of waste that Mills produces.
Interested in sitting in on the Botanical-Ecology club? They
meet every other Tuesday at 7:30PM in Suzie’s Lounge, and their
next meeting is on March 9.