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Behind the Scenes with Joe Pereira

Take a moment and think about all the items you have discarded today. How many ended up in the landfill bin? Municipal solid waste is growing at a rate even faster than that of urbanization, and in 2015, SCU’s campus has already produced over 500 tons of landfill waste. That’s equal to the weight of 100 full grown elephants! What happens to all that waste we dump in the bin?

Since being hired this past February as Supervisor In-House of Custodial Waste and Recycling Operations, Joe Pereira has had his hands full. Typically starting the workday around 4 am, Joe’s main job is to supervise the custodial staff and ensure that our waste is delivered to the proper processing location. Presiding over the three-bin system of compost, landfill, and recycling in all campus buildings, the role is a huge undertaking.

In the past, Joe owned his own janitorial service for 20 years, worked for Fremont Unified School District for 2 years, Union Sanitary District for 20 years, and more recently, Tesla Motors at all their California facilities.Today, Joe is working to achieve zero-waste at SCU. Sorting our waste and recycling can have the potential to achieve great economic benefits for SCU, the community, and the environment.

Joe stresses the importance of students, faculty, and staff to recognize their individual impact. Ideally, this education starts with children, but opportunities exist for all ages. To implement change, he hopes that an upperclassmen-run program could be established to help first-year students learn more about campus operational systems (i.e., the three-bin system!). Encouraging friends and family towards zero-waste as well as educating them about how easy proper diversion can be, is crucial. It only takes one dedicated person to create lasting change. At home, Joe and his family of 5 have worked to reduce their weekly 90 gallon landfill bin to a 20 gallon bin that only needs to be emptied every other week! Let that be your inspiration! Regardless of your role at Santa Clara University, remember that we all play a part in helping our community run smoothly.

Please join us in welcoming Joe to the Bronco family!

Contributed by Kayla Wells ‘16, Sustainability Intern for Waste Diversion