Environmentally Concious Organization (ECO) sorts through trash for improperly recycled materials.  Photo by Frances Parrish • parrishf@mytjnow.com

How wasteful is the west center: Trash audit results

Environmentally Concious Organization (ECO) sorts through trash for improperly recycled materials. Photo by Frances Parrish • parrishf@mytjnow.com

The results of the trash audit from before Thanksgiving break are in, and it seems that Winthrop has improved in some aspects but gotten worse in others.

Last year, Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) was in charge of the event, but this year, the new organization on campus, Environmentally Conscious Organization (ECO) was in charge of the trash audit. Michael Goble, president of ECO and senior environmental science major, said ECO has about 15 members and they are focused on recycling and sustainability around campus.  They would like to move out and help local businesses become more sustainable if they can in the future. They would also like to bring the community garden to Winthrop.

While SEAC is focused on more world-wide concepts such as mountaintop mining, ECO is more focused on small things around campus.   Last year, the garbage was collected on a Monday, but this year, there was a little discrepancy with the results, because the trash and recycling was picked up over the weekend for Homecoming.

The results this year are as follows. There were two bags full of improperly recycled materials and five total bags of trash. There was a bag full of 157 empty trash bags that had only been half way filled when dumped in the trash.  The number of empty and half-filled trash bags has gone up since last year.  There was five bags of trash collected from Monday thru Wednesday.  There was one bag of plastic, aluminum and glass disposed in trash and one bag of mixed paper that was disposed of in the trash.  They also collected a small of amount of cardboard and organic waste.

On the other hand, two bags were collected of properly recycled items.

Goble noticed that a lot of the contamination of recyclables in trash is from people coming from the track and the gym because there are no recycle cans in that area.  However, the results from last year and this year seem to have been about even, though the bags this year were filled with more trash.

Goble said that they will continue to hold trash audits each semester, and hopefully in the future they can do a campus wide trash audit.  They are working to get more recyclable bins on campus, especially outside.

Certain recyclables can be pulled out of the trash. Paper can sometimes be pulled out, if it is not too damaged.  Aluminum cans, plastics and glass can be pulled out of the trash bag. However, cardboard is a little trickier like paper.

Chris Johnson, sustainability coordinator said that they collect trash from the West Center because its the only LEED certified building on campus.

“This building ought to be the model folks be able to look to for inspiration of how a building can operate sustainably,” Johnson said.

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