Staples sustainability manager to bring recycling know-how to CSULB

Ken Perdue of office supply behemoth Staples will school Cal State Long Beach students on recycling and e-waste when he speaks this Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon at the Barrett Athletic Administration Center Conference Room, adjacent to the Walter Pyramid.

The National Manager of Sustainability for Staples Business Advantage will have a presentation titled “Waste Diversion/Recycling-Reaching the Next Level” and answer student questions.

According to Staples Access, “Perdue’s emphasis on ‘Eco Conservation’ through continued conservation adoption allows businesses to reduce, renew and recycle while making the task of going green extremely pragmatic, educational and cost effective.” Perdue works with state agencies, corporations, educational institutions and other organizations to help them reduce their climate footprints.

Staples has offered free office electronics recycling to its U.S. customers since 2012, according to their website.

Perdue will also focus on some common limitations to achieving zero waste, such as learning how to handle hard-to-recycle commodities such as e-waste, electronics composed of heavy metals which cannot be disposed of through traditional recycling bins. E-waste often also contains toxic materials such as lead, chromium and beryllium.

CSULB’s own zero waste initiative includes commitments on many levels, including President Jane Conoley, Chancellor Timothy White, the State Executive Order from Governor Jerry Brown and the Sustainability Task Force on campus.

“CSULB has purchased [four] electrical vehicle chargers for parking and built the solar panel parking,” said CSULB Procurement and Contractual Services Contract Specialist Pina Wright, who, together with PCS Director Malia Kinimaka, invited Perdue to come speak. “The whole thing is very multifaceted; there’s many layers of involvement but we are definitely on our way.”

Wright and Kinimaka invite a guest each semester and work with a sustainability class and student learning groups.

One goal for improvement is expanding the services which CSULB’s Recycling Center offers to the community. As of now, the center only collects campus e-waste.

“A lot of people in the community don’t know where to go or what to do with e-waste,” Wright said. “I would like to see [the recycling center open] to not just the campus community but also the public.”

According to Wright, cost and logistics have gotten in the way of recycling e-waste on campus, with questions of where to store the often large, heavy equipment like computer screens and monitors, who will foot the bill to have the items picked up and who will be held accountable for submitting periodic reports.

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