Orange Coast College debuts new $7.5-million recycling center

Orange Coast College debuted its new recycling center Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The roughly $7.5-million facility on the Costa Mesa campus’s northern edge, off Adams Avenue, occupies about 5 acres, making it much larger than its 1-acre predecessor.

It also has classrooms, offices, a conference room, a first aid room, men’s and women’s showers, a cleaning area and 45 parking spaces, up from eight before.

Construction took 16 months.

OCC has had a recycling program for more than 45 years that draws people from around the region. It accepts materials such as aluminum cans, plastic bottles, newspapers and scrap metal.

It also accepts electronic waste such as televisions, computer monitors and fax machines, along with cooking oil, household batteries and fluorescent light tubes.

It does not accept furniture, auto or marine batteries, used motor oil, paint, chemicals or hazardous waste.

OCC President Dennis Harkins said the recycling center represents “decades of commitment” to the community and has provided thousands of jobs, mostly for students, for decades.

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley called the facility “an economic driver” for the city.

The recycling center’s new administrative building uses solar panels and has eco-friendly materials, such as solar tubes for indoor lighting. OCC officials are seeking to get various energy-efficient certifications for the facility.

For Michael “Recycle” Carey, OCC’s environmental and sustainability coordinator, seeing the new digs was a dream come true.

“Pinch me,” he said. “Is this real?”

Funding for the new center came from a variety of sources, including Measure M, a voter-approved Coast Community College District bond, and CR&R Environmental Services. The classrooms were named after supporters Cliff Ronnenberg, founder and chief executive of CR&R, and his wife, Janet.

The expanded center is part of OCC’s Vision 2020, a development blueprint that also includes new student housing and an under-construction planetarium that will replace one from the 1950s.

Twitter: @BradleyZint