By Adam Pingatore, ΒΧ
Alternate title: A CAN-do Attitude
Hey alumni, CAN you believe it’s already Spring?! We Brothers over here at the Psi Chapter sure CAN’t! Why, you may ask, the emphasis on “CAN”? Well, allow me to explain. Sometime in December as rainy days, statewide lockdowns, and 12 hour-long “naps” kept Brothers inside twiddling their thumbs and browsing the boundless World Wide Web, Adam Pingatore (hereafter referred to as “I”, since I’m writing this!) had a brief thought while drinking his third CAN of sparkling water for the day.
In California, whenever we purchase an aluminum CAN, plastic bottle, or glass bottle, we pay a 5-cent fee. This all started back in 1986, when the state passed the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act to incentivise, well, recycling containers and reducing litter! The system, which many of you are likely familiar with, works like this: 1) Pay a 5 cent deposit when purchasing a beverage of choice, 2) drink said beverage of choice, and 3) bring that empty container to one of 1,217 recycling centers across the state to get your money back!
A simple task, it seems; however, when I realized that the closest recycling center to UCLA is around 5 miles from campus and that many brothers don’t have cars, an idea struck me. As a chapter, we could combine all of our CANs and bottles that were going to go into the normal (non-money-making) recycling, and redeem them all at the end of the quarter for a (hopefully) large sum. We would then vote, as a chapter, on a charity or organization in the LA area to which we could donate the proceeds. When I pitched this idea at weekly meeting, I fully expected it to be met with a lukewarm reception at best. What happened was quite the opposite!
Throughout Winter quarter, 19 Brothers living in the Westwood area and 2 living outside the area pitched in and contributed to the ever-growing mountain of recyclables that accumulated on my porch (possibly to the dismay of my non-band-member roommates). The effort was phenomenal, and it was incredible to see brothers so get so excited and impassioned about such a simple concept on a weekly basis when I met with them to pick up and drop off CANs and bottles. In addition to the social and charitable aspects of the project, there’s also a large environmental benefit to redirecting all this recycling, since these recycling centers have, overall, better reputations for correctly processing recyclables than the conventional recycling pick up trucks that come to residences on a weekly basis
Now the moment that everyone who managed to make it this far in the article has been waiting for: the NUMBERS! Overall, we raised $68.05 in a 10 week timeframe, which is not too shabby for our first time if I do say so myself! That money came from around 7.5 lbs of plastic, 7.5 lbs of glass, and 20 whole pounds of aluminum (for those of you really into the numbers, that works out to be around 660 cans). Chapter will have a poll in the coming weeks about where to donate all the funds. For the foreseeable future, we’ll be focusing on causes related to COVID, such as buying masks for communities that have less access to them, funding healthcare efforts, and the like. Lastly, a huge thank you to our Director of Service Gina Talcott, Treasurer Kylie Williams, and President Erica Vellanoweth for the tons of support this quarter for the project’s logistics. I hope all alumni reading this CAN see how awesome of an effort this was from all brothers involved, and I'm excited to continue this project for many quarters to come!