A group of Cal Poly students led by graphic communication junior Annika Furr are creating a virtual training program called “Refuse, Reduce, Recycle” for incoming freshmen to educate them on personal sustainability practices. The training, which can be taken by any Cal Poly student or faculty member, will teach individuals how to live a more sustainable lifestyle and how to properly recycle, according to Furr.
Furr, who works for Cal Poly’s Inter Housing Council (IHC), said she was inspired to create the training after Zero Waste Program Coordinator Anastasia Nicole spoke to IHC in Fall 2019. Nicole discussed how to make IHC events more sustainable, and she mentioned that she was trying to create an online training and was looking for assistance to get it started, Furr said.
“In reality, prior to this, I didn’t know anything about environmentalism or sustainability or recycling, but after [Nicole] spoke to us, I became super motivated to be better about it,” Furr said. “I went straight to my roommates and told them what can go in the trash and recycling and what can’t.”
Many students who come to San Luis Obispo from the Bay Area or Southern California may not realize that the city’s recycling guidelines vary from their hometowns, Furr said. “Recycling plants [in those areas] will separate a lot of the waste for you, whereas in San Luis Obispo, it’s a lot stricter,” Furr said. “For example, if there are any food scraps on your recycling, it isn’t recyclable and it goes straight to waste.”