Category Archives: GREENRichland

Richland College Wins Grand Championship in National ‘RecycleMania’ Competition

Recycling bins located on campusRichland College showed its green side with a campus-wide recycling rate of more than 82 percent during the spring semester, earning the grand champion prize in RecycleMania, an annual competition for college and university recycling programs.

Each spring since 2001, colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected for a period of eight weeks and are ranked in various categories based on which institution recycles the most on a per capita basis, which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools generate the least amount of combined trash and recycling.

The 2016 tournament ran from Feb. 2 through April 7, with 350 schools participating from 48 states in the U.S., the District of Columbia and Canada. During the competition time, participating schools recycled or composted 79.3 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials. This prevented the release of 122,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere, or the equivalent of the annual emissions from 24,000 cars.

Historically, Richland College has placed in the top 10 in the overall competition since 2012 and has been the Texas Grand Champion in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

“After consistently being the best in Texas, it’s so great to be able to win the national award this year for RecycleMania,” said Jerry Owens, Richland College assistant director of facilities services. “The program closely aligns with Richland College’s vision to ‘build sustainable local and world community.’ A lot of effort has gone into recycle awareness and sustainability on our campus, and we are thrilled that it really paid off.”

RecycleMania hopes to motivate students, faculty, staff and the community to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation. It also hopes to increase awareness and support for college recycling programs and encourage colleges and universities to measure, benchmark and expand recycling efforts to help improve their programs over time.

For more information on the competition, visit

Richland College is Best in Texas in ‘RecycleMania’ Competition

Paper being recycledRichland College showed its green over the spring semester when it took home prizes for first in the state and fifth in the U.S. and Canada in RecycleMania, an annual competition for college and university recycling programs.

Each spring, colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected for a period of eight weeks and are in turn ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most on a per capita basis, which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools generate the least amount of combined trash and recycling. Richland College was fifth overall in the competition and first in the state of Texas.

“RecycleMania is a great competition, and the program closely aligns with Richland College’s vision to ‘build sustainable local and world community,’” said Lisa Eades, Richland College associate director of facilities support services. “It is really a great benchmarking tool to see how our recycling efforts stack up against other colleges and universities each year.”

Historically, Richland College has placed in the top ten in the overall competition since 2012 and has been the Texas Grand Champion in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

RecycleMania hopes to motivate students, faculty and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation. It also hopes to increase awareness and support for college recycling programs and encourage colleges and universitites to measure, benchmark and expand recycling efforts to help improve their programs over time.

For more information on the event, visit

Fall Recycling Round-Up held at Richland

2013-Fall-Roundup-PosterRichland College is a host site for the City of Dallas’ 2013 Fall Recycling Round-Up, held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sept. 21 in Parking Lot E on the Richland campus.

Residents are invited to drop off a variety of items including pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, electronic items, paper, textiles, used cooking oil, scrap metal, tires, batteries, plastic and styrofoam. Household chemicals or paint, building supplies, and furniture or mattresses will not be accepted.

Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas. The Recycling Round-Up will be held rain or shine.

Richland College students turn rubbish into recycling research
From left: Misael Sandoval, Iris Gomez, Elliot Stapleton and Professor Lesley Daspit sort trash.

From left: Misael Sandoval, Iris Gomez, Elliot Stapleton and Professor Lesley Daspit sort trash.

This spring, a team of Richland College anthropology students found more than just banana peels, empty coffee cups and plastic bottles in the trash on campus – they found a treasure trove of data.

Professor Lesley Daspit’s anthropology students uncovered interesting patterns in recycling behaviors on campus that give Richland College leaders valuable insight into how to improve current sustainability practices.

The group of students – known as “garbologists” – also noticed after digging through almost 600 pounds of trash that recycling rates at Richland College would improve if recycling receptacles were placed in the outlying areas of campus, such as the soccer fields and parking lots.

“It was a dirty job,” Dr. Daspit said with a smile. “I am very proud of my students; they have worked hard on this research project.”

Before they riffled through the refuse, Dr. Daspit taught her Introduction to Archeology students the proper anthropological techniques for how to study artifacts and gain insight into the people to whom they belonged.

“Garbology is the study of modern refuse and trash,” Dr. Daspit said. “Archeology used to just deal with people in the past, but garbology has taken us into new venues such as landfills and college campuses.”

One student, Gigi Lofland, said she learned that analyzing a community’s garbage is nothing new to anthropology or archeology.

“Studying trash is legitimate archeology,” she said. “We learned about trash middens, or trash heaps. Archeologists have been learning about societies and understanding cultures through middens for years.”

Dr. Daspit’s class started the garbology research project by surveying fellow students about their recycling habits at home and on campus and their awareness of Richland College’s recycling initiatives.

The garbologists found that of the 88 students surveyed, 47 percent recycle at home, 77 percent recycle on campus, but only 14 percent were aware that Richland College was participating this spring in Recyclemania, a national contest among colleges and universities. Richland College won top state honors in 2010, 2011 and 2012 in Recyclemania and consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally.

Tales from the Trash
Dr. Daspit’s students also got their hands dirty. They collected 599 pounds of garbage from 18 collections sites on Richland College’s 243-acre campus. The team studied trash receptacles from inside and outside campus buildings.

From the rubbish, the garbology team sorted out 1,368 items that could have been recycled. The majority of the recyclables found were plastic bottles (56 percent), followed by plastic bags (27 percent), cans (12 percent) and glass items (5 percent).

Garbology Reseach Project MapPracticing good anthropological technique, the students also included observation as part of their research. They spent a total of eight hours watching what people threw in the waste bins at various locations on campus.

The garbologists discovered that 52 percent of the 79 people they observed threw away items that could have been recycled. The students think placing recycling bins closer to waste receptacles and simply adding more recycling bins on campus would encourage more recycling.

Students said they were amazed by the amount of food and beverage waste they found, which included many half-full drink bottles, an unopened six-pack of Gatorade, a full box of peanut butter crackers, unopened granola bars, whole coconuts and an unopened jar of tomato sauce.

That wasn’t the only surprise the students discovered in the garbage.

“We found a bundle of perfectly good iPod cords,” said student Isaak Lee. “We couldn’t figure that one out.”

Global Garbage
Not surprisingly, the class found items from across the globe in the waste bins. Richland College’s student body of some 20,000 college credit students and another 5,000 continuing education students is internationally and ethnically diverse, speaking more than 79 first languages.

“I knew we had a really diverse community at Richland College but it was really neat to see that show up in the trash,” Gigi said.

Among the international refuse were chips from Korea, soymilk from Malaysia, fruit drinks from Mexico and Belgium, dates from China, a natural toothbrush from Pakistan and a calling card to call Ethiopia.

The garbology team recorded more of their observations and adventures on the Richland College Garbology Blog.

Ideas for the Future
At the end of their project, Dr. Daspit and the class presented their findings and recommendations to college leaders, which included:

  • installing recycling bins in the campus parking lots and athletic fields
  • placing recycling and waste bins in closer proximity
  • standardizing the look of recycling bins
  • posting signage atop the bins indicating what can go in respective recycling bins
  • increasing student and employee awareness and participation in recycling on campus
  • expanding the study to include offices and classrooms
  • exploring partnerships with food vendors on campus to reduce plastic packaging waste and
  • further studying food and beverage waste on campus.

The students hope that garbology won’t be a one-time class project at Richland College.

“We definitely should keep it going. It needs to be studied year round,” Isaak said. “I’ll definitely recycle more after what I’ve seen. There’s still a lot to work on.”

Seeing the change in students’ awareness and attitudes about environmental sustainability is gratifying, Dr. Daspit said.

“That’s what I love about the project – something so simple as a waste audit can have a cascading effect across campus and into our lives,” Dr. Daspit said.

Jerry Owens, Richland College’s assistant director of Facilities Services, who leads the college’s energy conservation and sustainability efforts, said the garbology project provides important information for sustainability initiatives.

“Their project was very helpful to us,” he said. “We already knew that there was an opportunity for more recycling in the parking lots and outer areas, but the project gave us some good data. One of the best things about this is that students are getting more involved and aware.”

Mr. Owens said that Facilities Services has been working not only with Dr. Daspit’s students but also with other Service Learning groups on campus.

“We are happy to partner with students and we hope to work more closely with them in the future,” he said.

The garbology project ties into Richland College’s active commitment to the triple-bottom line of social equity and justice, economic viability and environmental vitality. Richland provides educational programs, services, processes and practices to empower students to achieve their educational goals and become lifelong learners and responsible global citizens, building sustainable local and world community.

Richland College has received awards and recognitions for its commitment to environmental sustainability from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Dallas Business Journal, the Community College Journal, the Rocky Mountain Institute and the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded LEED Platinum certification for Richland College’s Sabine Hall science building and LEED Gold certification for the Richland College Garland Campus.

Richland College has been named EPA College/University Partner of the Year

For the second consecutive year, Richland College has been awarded the 2011 WasteWise College/University Partner of the Year Award by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Richland College’s high environmental standards and successful results. The mission of GREENRichland, is that “GREENRichland leads and learns with students, colleagues, and global partners in developing practices, policies, programs and partnerships that promote a robust natural environment and an abundant quality of life for future generations.” This message is continuously conveyed to students, faculty, and staff to help the campus community become more aware of Richland College’s carbon footprint and its effects on the environment. Richland College encourages all employees to use the WasteWise web site as a source when computing any figures pertaining to recycling and when seeking resources about the process of recycling. In addition, Richland College built a new recycling station/education center in its LEED Platinum-certified science building to help the campus community and visitors learn about waste prevention and recycling, as well serving as a dropoff point for recycling paper, plastic, glass, and food.

Richland College actively participates in events, including the RecycleMania program and a local program that sells and donates campus materials such as computers, televisions, and plastics. GREENRichland has also conducted its own events, including the Art, Science, and Sustainable Community Symposium and the National Teach-In on Global Warming. In 2010 alone, Richland recycled more than 754 tons of materials, including construction and demolition debris, concrete/cement, metals, and paper. Its waste reduction activities in 2010 resulted in greenhouse gas emission reductions of more than 2,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

WasteWise is a free, voluntary EPA program through which organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste and selected industrial wastes, benefitting the environment, as well as the organization’s bottom line. WasteWise members can join as partners, endorsers, or both. WasteWise helps its partners meet goals to reduce and recycle municipal solid waste and selected industrial wastes.

Richland places 1st in Texas in 2011 RecycleMania

Its third year in the national RecycleMania competition, Richland College came in first place among Texas institutions and ranked 15th nationally out of 288 colleges and universities in the Grand Champion division.

Other Texas institutions that competed in the Grand Champion division include, The University of Texas at Austin, Baylor University, Trinity University, Rice University, Northlake College, University of Houston, and former Grand Champion of Texas: the University of St. Thomas.

California State University – San Marcos was the RecycleMania 2011 Grand Champion.

Participating institutions tracked campus recycling and trash data which RecycleMania organizers ranked according to who collected the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or had the highest recycling rate.

RecycleMania started in 2001 as the brainchild of administrators at the Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling in the residence and dinning halls on their campuses. RecycleMania’s mission of inspiring environmental and social consciousness fits perfectly with Richland’s vision to be best place to learn, teach, and build sustainable local and world community.

For more information, contact Jerry Owens, Assistant Director of Facilities Services, at 972-238-6173 or

Richland College Hosts Free Seminar On Proper Lawn Care

Many people maintain their lawns based on trial and error and these errors tend show up in water bills, creeks, rivers and lakes as well as lawns. Learn the proper techniques to having a healthy lawn, saving money and preventing water pollution at the “Lawn Care 101 Turf Seminar.” This free seminar, hosted by Richland College and Dallas Water Utilities, will be held from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 29 in the Richland College Performance Hall.

Join Dr. James McAfee, Turfgrass Specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas, to learn how to properly care for your lawn. Among the subjects to be covered are the proper height to mow, how and when to fertilize and how to water most efficiently. Two 60-gallon rain barrels, donated by, will be given away at end of the turf session.

Following the turf session, plan on attending each of the following 30-minute presentations:

Do It Yourself Sprinkler Repairs: Learn about proper controller programming, system components, sprinkler head selection, seasonal adjustments, minor repairs and repair parts.

Sustainable Landscaping: Learn how to sustainably use lawn chemicals and manage your yard waste for a nice, lush lawn, while keeping pollution out of our local creeks, rivers and lakes.

Space is limited, to make reservations, register online at or call 214-670-3155.

Richland College holds Art, Science and Sustainable Community Symposium Jan. 30

Richland College hosted the Art, Science and Sustainable Community Symposium last Saturday with over 250 faculty, staff, students and community members in attendance.

The event explored the role of water within the new model of sustainability. Attendees at the symposium heard lectures and panel discussions, participated in breakout sessions, experienced the “Water: More or Less” art exhibit, and toured the new science building.

Ignacio Bunster, lead architect on Dallas’ Trinity Lakes Park design project, served as keynote speaker for the symposium and the art exhibition was juried by New York City-based artist Paul Villinski, noted for his artist response studio built in a gutted FEMA trailer using green materials as a response to post-Katrina New Orleans. Regional artists were awarded over $1,500.

The Art, Science and Sustainable Community Symposium centered on several themes: The built environment’s response to preserving ecology; striking a symbiotic equilibrium between human development and nature; use of science towards creative responsibility; and an environmentally inspired the University of North Texas’ dance department performance, “Choking the Earth?”

For more information, contact Ryder Richards at or 972-238-6339.

Richardson Chamber of Commerce awards Richland with environmental award

a5aLast Thursday the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, along with congressman Sam Johnson, awarded Richland College with the “Environmental Award” at their annual Business and Industry luncheon. Richland was commended for its sustainability efforts, including the construction, recycling, energy efficiency and eco-friendly education to its students, faculty and staff.

“Richland College was selected for the Richardson Chamber of Commerce’s 2009 Business and Industry Environmental Award because it demonstrated an outstanding level of commitment to sustainable and green initiatives by establishing ‘green’ administrative policies and by implementing those policies through construction,” said Sue Walker, Vice President of Economic Development for the Richardson Chamber of Commerce.

Among many other sustainability initiatives, Richland is currently seeking platinum status for its new science building under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The new facility, scheduled to open in January 2010, will house Richland’s science programs, bookstore, coffee bar, and conference rooms. LEED is a nationally recognized standard for the design and construction of high-performing green buildings. The new, 114,000-square-foot building will feature:

• the ability to harvest sunlight
• underground cisterns to collect and irrigate rain water to other parts of the campus
• interactive devices in restrooms that users control to save water
• furnishing materials made of recycled materials, such as the carpet and furniture, from local vendors
• a hands-on geology pit
• green terrace roof, and
• monitoring stations to showcase energy efficiency will also be integrated, providing field learning for students.

“On behalf of the faculty, students, and administration of Richland College, we are honored to accept the Richardson Chamber of Commerce’s award for 2009. We appreciate Richardson’s recognition of Richland College’s efforts in building sustainable local and world community, a vital dimension of our vision,” said acting president Dr. Kay Eggleston.

For more information on the award, please contact Anitra Cotton at

This week’s RLC update – College submits Climate Action Plan

Institutional Effectiveness – Committed to climate neutrality, Richland submitted a first draft of its Climate Action Plan (CAP) to the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) on Sept. 15. Although Richland’s CAP will be updated as new information, technologies, and initiatives develop, submission of this plan to ACUPCC represents a significant milestone on Richland’s journey to climate neutrality. Led by Chief Sustainability Officer David Henry, creation of the plan involved the efforts of many Richlanders, including *GREEEN*Richland, the Energy Team, Facilities Services, the Office of Planning and Research for Institutional Effectiveness, and ThunderTeam.