A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Recycling Coordinator Matt Hirota Saves Campus Cash with Lighting Leftovers

February 22, 2013

When the Castle research facility made the switch from fluorescent lights to more energy-efficient ones, campus Recycling Coordinator Matt Hirota was left with 2,180 pounds of lighting ballasts that had to go.

The local landfill would not accept the ballasts and referred Hirota to a chemical transport company, but the company wanted to charge UC Merced $6,540 for taking the leftovers.

About the same time, Hirota met a student who works in the metal recycling industry and mentioned that some companies, like the one he works for, buy ballasts for recycling. 

Hirota sold the ballasts to a local metal recycling company for $218 and the wire from the ballasts for another $84. Instead of costing the campus $6,540, he made $302.