College Gears Up for 2014 RecycleMania Tournament

RM_logo_2013by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will once again take part in RecycleMania, a nationwide tournament among colleges and universities designed to increase student awareness of campus recycling and waste minimization.

After finishing second in Pennsylvania in the Waste Minimization category during the 2013 challenge – collecting 15.292 pounds of combined trash and recycling per capita – MCCC expects to maintain momentum in this, its seventh consecutive year of competing.

Pre-season practice weeks are held from Jan. 19-Feb. 1. Then, the official competition kicks off on Feb. 2 and extends eight weeks to March 29.

During the program, campuses compete in different contests to see which institution can collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita, thelargest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita or have the highest recycling rate. Final results will be announced on April 11.

In 2013, 523 colleges comprising 3.5 million staff and students recycled and/or composted 90.8 million pounds of waste.  In addition, Recyclemania 2013 resulted in a reduction of 121,436 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MTCO2E).  Of the totals, MCCC contributed 34,132 pounds of recycling and averaged 4.252 pounds of recycling per person each week.

According to the U.S. EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM), MCCC’s recycling efforts during the competition resulted in a greenhouse gas reduction of 48 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E), which translates to the energy consumption of four households or the emissions of nine cars.

RecycleMania is made possible through the sponsorship support of Alcoa, SCAThe Coca Cola Company, Keep America Beautiful, and the American Forest & Paper Association. Additional program support is provided by the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise programCampus Conservation Nationals, the United Negro College Fund, and the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program.

Check out MCCC’s Think Green blog at for RecycleMania stats and updates.

To learn more about the RecycleMania 2014 competition, visit

Culinary Arts Institute Goes ‘Landfill Free’

by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Montgomery County Community College’s brand new Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) became the institution’s first “Landfill-Free Enterprise” when it opened in August 2013. The CAI partners with Sustainable Waste Solutions (SWS), of Souderton,  to convert all waste — trash, recycling and food trimmings — into energy or materials.

“Sustainability is so important in the food industry, especially since we produce so much waste,” explained Chef Instructor and CAI Business Manager John De Pinto.

For waste that can be recycled, SWS employs single-stream advanced techniques to increase the rate of materials that are actually recycled, eliminating  byproduct waste that may end up in the landfill.

For materials that cannot be recycled, SWS employs Energy-from-Waste or Waste-to-Energy processes, which create energy, typically in the form of electricity, from the combustion of solid waste.

SWS also transforms 100% of the CAI’s food scraps — including meats and high fat foods that typically cannot be composted — into agricultural compost through a scientific process that complies with government regulations regarding disease control and ground water pollution. In addition all of the CAI’s cooking grease collected and transformed into biofuel.

Check out a short video tour of College’s brand new Culinary Arts Institute below!

Household Batteries Now Accepted for Recycling

Montgomery County Community College is partnering with Grainger Industrial Supply to recycle household batteries. Collection boxes are available at several locations at the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, including the College Hall south lobby entrance, the Parkhouse Hall 202 lobby entrance, the Advanced Technology Center atrium, the Facilities Management Building conference room, and the Science Center lower level near the Engineering laboratories.

Battery collection box in the ATC atrium.

Battery collection box in the ATC atrium.

Keeping Pottstown’s Riverfront Park Green

Students from Montgomery County Community College’s Beta Tau Lambda chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at the West Campus spent the morning of Saturday, Oct. 19 cleaning up Riverfront Park in Pottstown. Thank you to faculty advisors James Bretz and Diana McFadden for providing photos!

Campus Sustainability Days to Showcase ‘Green’ Efforts

csd2013logo_thumbnailby Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

Montgomery County Community College will join hundreds of colleges and universities across the country to celebrate Campus Sustainability Day 2013, the theme of which is “Climate Adaptation: Resilient Campuses & Communities.”

In its 11th year, Campus Sustainability Day is designed to create awareness and facilitate discussion between students, faculty, staff and the community at large. While the day is officially observed on the fourth Wednesday in October, many institutions host activities through the week and month.

See the list of supporting organizations

MCCC has two days of Campus Sustainability activities:  Wednesday, Oct. 23  in the South Hall Cafeteria at the West Campus in Pottstown, and Wednesday, Oct. 30 in the Parkhouse Hall Atrium at the Central Campus in Blue Bell, both from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Each day will  feature informational exhibits about a variety of “green” campus topics, including:

In addition to these, campus sustainability info will appear on campus television displays, and the Central Campus event will feature info from the College’s Environmental Club, as well as Campus Sustainability Tours, hosted by Assistant Professor of Biology Jerry Coleman.

The College is also asking community members to get involved by tweeting ways they are going green with the hash tag #mc3green.  Responses tweeted by Nov. 1 with #mc3green will be compiled and posted to the College’s Think Green blog!


‘Cone 6 Transition Project’ Greens College Ceramics Department

by Paul Goraczko, Think Green Correspondent

Montgomery County Community College‘s Ceramics Department recently revamped the way its reduction kiln is fired.

The project, entitled the “Cone 6 Transition Project,” is part of an effort to support the College’s commitment to sustainability.

The project was piloted by Dr. Aaron Shatzman, Dean of Social Sciences (who was serving as Interim Dean of Arts & Humanities at the time); Frank Short, Professor/Coordinator of Fine Arts; and Michael Connelly, Assistant Professor of Ceramics.

Previously, students’ ceramics projects were bisque-fired in an electric kiln and then glaze-fired in a natural gas-fired reduction kiln at Cone 10 (2360 degrees).

The transition has lowered the overall kiln firing temperature from Cone 10 to Cone 6 (2192 degrees).

Learn about Cone Temperatures

The 168-degree difference between the two firing temperatures may not sound like a huge difference, but reducing the temperature at which the kiln is fired will have some green friendly effects.

“Although change is hard,” Connelly said,” the ceramics program should focus on the benefits of firing mid-range reduction.”

The change will save time and fuel, reduce the College’s carbon footprint, and lower costs.

Heating a kiln to Cone 10 can take anywhere from 10-12 hours, while Cone 6 takes only 8-10 hours. This translates not only to a 30% fuel savings, but also to savings in staffing, as each firing has to be overseen by a member of the College’s staff.

Reducing the firing temperature also adds longevity to the kiln by reducing the wear and tear. This translates to savings in the long term, because it will decrease the likelihood of having to replace the kiln prematurely.

Connelly admits that “ceramics is not the greenest of art forms,” but the Cone 6 Transition Project is just one way the department is helping the College to go green.

College Earns GVF’s Platinum Sustainability Award for Third Consecutive Year

by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

GVF Assistant Director Maureen Farrell and Action News Meteorologist David Murphy present Dr. Celeste Schwartz, MCCC vice president for Information Technology and College Services, with a platinum level sustainability award. Photo courtesy of GVF

GVF Assistant Director Maureen Farrell and Action News Meteorologist David Murphy present Dr. Celeste Schwartz, MCCC vice president for Information Technology and College Services, with a platinum level sustainability award. Photo courtesy of GVF

For the third consecutive year, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) earned a platinum-level sustainability award from the Greater Valley Forge Management Association (GVF) on Sept. 9 during the organization’s annual Sustainability Breakfast.

MCCC was one of 29 organizations recognized for sustainability efforts in 2013. According to GVF, applicants represented more than 60,000 employees and close to 300 different workplace sustainability programs.

MCCC partners with GVF to operate a campus shuttle service between its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses. Introduced in 2010 and expanded from a 14- to 20-passenger vehicle in 2012, 10,432 riders utilized the service in 2012-13, a 23 percent increase over the previous year. With an average daily ridership of 72 passengers, the shuttle helped to eliminate approximately 54,527 metric tons of carbon emissions and reduce vehicle usage by 522,144 miles over the past year.

In addition to the shuttle program, MCCC also employs Zimride, an industry leading rideshare service that provides a safe and easy way for students and staff to arrange carpooling through college community network that fully integrates with Facebook. Since launching Zimride in 2011, MCCC’s network has logged 1,197,760 carpool miles.

At the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, drivers of electric, hybrid, and conventional vehicles that average 25 MPG or greater, as well as carpoolers and shuttle riders, have the opportunity to park in  the Green Lot — a designated, convenient 185-space parking lot adjacent to the Advanced Technology Center. Electric vehicle charging stations are available in the Green Lot, as well as in the South Hall parking lot at the West Campus in Pottstown.

Other transportation initiatives include a Segway program for public safety officers in Pottstown, electric and hybrid vehicles for public safety and facilities staff in Blue Bell, and an increased effort to promote bicycle accessibility at all MCCC locations.

Since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Montgomery County Community College has put into place policies and procedures that reduce its carbon footprint. To learn more about the College’s sustainability initiative, visit