Despite the massive mounds of beer cans collected after every weekend, Isla Vista has one of the lowest recycling rates in the state – something local organizations are trying to change.
The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District will host a meeting at 6 p.m. tonight to discuss recycling efforts in the community, as well as the addition of $5,000 worth of blue recycle bins to be bought via a grant from the Shoreline Preservation Fund. The meeting will be held at the IVRPD office, located at 961 Embarcadero Del Mar.
With the help of the I.V. Tenants Union and the Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board, the IVRPD has been working to find a solution to what organizers say is apathy toward the importance of recycling.
“We had a first meeting where the problem was identified,” IVRPD Director Kelly Burns said. “This meeting is an attempt to find a solution.”
Burns said that even those who are environmentally savvy do not always have bins where they can properly dispose of recyclables, or confuse the tan colored recycling bins in Santa Barbara with trash bins, as the California standard color for the former is blue.
“People don’t recycle in I.V. at all, and the problem is part behavioral and part structural,” she said.
Scott Bull, the grants manager for the Shoreline Preservation Fund, said the $5,000 grant will go toward replacing the current tan bins with new blue bins along Del Playa Drive. This phase of the project should be completed within the next few weeks.
“If this proves to be an effective method for reducing the amount of contamination and encourages more recycling, the county will consider exchanging all bins throughout Isla Vista,” Bull said.
IVRPD member Dianne Conn said the board was open to just such a change.
“People say, ‘If I put one aluminum can in the recycle, what good will that do?'” Conn said. “But one of my favorite statistics is that one recycled aluminum can can save enough energy to light a light bulb for an entire year.”
Conn said the long-term goal of the recycling program is to make I.V. a better place to live for students in the years to come.
“We’re going to make sure every house has trash and recycle bins,” Conn said. “We would like to see Isla Vista become a more beautiful, cleaner place.”