Yuma, Arizona - Arizona Western College will be ramping up their recycling efforts this spring thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Arizona Recycling Coalition.

The AWC Sustainability Council received the award for their grant proposal on the Greater Reduction of Waste (G.R.O.W.) Project, an initiative that seeks to expand AWC’s current recycling program through the purchase of additional recycling bins to be installed in building lobbies and on the walkways between campus buildings.

“The increase in recycling presence will allow the college to further its commitment in reducing its waste production and carbon footprint, while also providing an increase in education to the campus community about proper recycling,” said Joann Chang, AWC Sustainability Council co-chair.

The AWC recycling program initially began as a student club initiative on the Yuma Main campus. Subsequently, AWC faculty, and staff along with the students, advocated for the Yuma City Council to provide curbside recycling for all city residents.

“As a rural community college serving Yuma and La Paz counties, the growth and expansion of the recycling program will aid us in continuing to be educational leaders fostering sustainable practices for a better environment,” said Chang.

AWC currently has recycling bins in faculty and staff offices and classrooms. By adding more bins on campus through the G.R.O.W. Project, it is expected that recyclables on campus will increase by 50% and reduce 20% of the Yuma campus’ trash sent to local landfills.

 The AWC Facilities Department, in conjunction with the Sustainability Council, plans to replace or add bins as needed beyond the use of the grant funds through their allocated budget.

Members of the AWC Sustainability Council that contributed to the G.R.O.W. grant proposal included Professor of Biology Joann Chang, Dean of Marketing and Public Relations Lori Stofft, Director of Facilities Management Steve Eckert, Professor of Family Studies and Psychology Melissa Behunin, and AWC Television Producer Travis Mitchell.

Since its inception in 1993, the Arizona Recycling Coalition Grants Program has awarded more than $40,000 in funding to nonprofit organizations, local governments and tribal nations to significantly increase recycling and divert what is taken to the landfill.