Trash audit raises recycling awareness

 

 

Members of the Ecology Center of the Siskiyous dug through campus trash last week in an effort to raise awareness about recycling. Photo by Lenny Holland/The Siskiyou

 

 

The Stevenson Union courtyard was a peaceful place to be Thursday afternoon.  With blue skies overhead and warm temperatures, there was little that could scar such a gorgeous day – except perhaps for the rancid smell and ugly sight of dozens of opened bags of garbage.

“We’re trying to see how much of the trash could have been recycled,” said Benji Nagel, a senior in environmental studies.  “It’s a random sample of trash – two bags from each building.”

The  “trash audit” was conducted by the Ecology Center of the Siskiyous and a group of environmental studies students.   The project began as a capstone but quickly evolved into something larger.

Nagel, who is also the co-director of ECOS, said that the group is hoping to recieve $20,000 of SOU’s green tag money through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation for a new sorting facility on campus, to be set up in an existing building.

It’s unclear which building will be used, and the audit is a way for ECOS to get more information about how much recycling space they might need.

“We want a structure on campus to get recycling sorted before it goes out,” Nagel said.  “Right now, if a bag of recycling has one piece of trash, the whole bag is thrown out.”

Nagel went on to say that the University of Oregon has a sorting facility, and it’s “the most important step in improving recycling.”

The group is also pushing for an additional $20,000 from SOU for new recycling containers.

“They’re more expensive than you think,” said Nagel.

Perhaps the smell and sight are worth it.  Though the random declaration of “tampon alert” while the group looks through trash can be a bit disconcerting.

 

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