The Stevenson Union courtyard was a peaceful place to be Thursday afternoon.Â 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.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to see how much of the trash could have been recycled,â€ said Benji Nagel, a senior in environmental studies.Â â€œItâ€™s a random sample of trash â€“ two bags from each building.â€
The Â â€œtrash auditâ€ was conducted by the Ecology Center of the Siskiyous and a group of environmental studies students.Â Â 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 SOUâ€™s green tag money through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation for a new sorting facility on campus, to be set up in an existing building.
Itâ€™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.
â€œWe want a structure on campus to get recycling sorted before it goes out,â€ Nagel said.Â â€œRight now, if a bag of recycling has one piece of trash, the whole bag is thrown out.â€
Nagel went on to say that the University of Oregon has a sorting facility, and itâ€™s â€œthe most important step in improving recycling.â€
The group is also pushing for an additional $20,000 from SOU for new recycling containers.
â€œTheyâ€™re more expensive than you think,â€ said Nagel.
Perhaps the smell and sight are worth it.Â Though the random declaration of â€œtampon alertâ€ while the group looks through trash can be a bit disconcerting.