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Campus Waste Audit - CPJ May 29

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FEATURES | 5 www.evergreen.edu/cpjMay 29, 2008Campus Waste Audit: What are we throwing away?by Leah haLL, Seth June, & amanda WedoWOn May 22, a group of students from Ecological Agriculture, Students of Ever-green for Ecological Design, and Devel-oping Ecological Agricultural Practices emptied out campus garbage bins to sort the “waste.” The goal was to separate and quantify the amount of recyclable and compostable material in the campus waste stream. After sorting garbage cans from Red Square, the Greenery, Seminar II, and the Sem II Café, we found only 12.5% “garbage” by weight, with 12.5% recyclables, and 75% compostable waste. The compostable waste was further divided into two categories: food waste (30%) and other compostables (45%) such as coffee cups, paper plates, soiled napkins, and biodegradable utensils.A lArger, more comprehensive system on cAmpus ... would be visible And Rainboe Si MS-Jone SStudentS dig through the garbage to examine the waSte. more than three educAtionAl, reduce quarterS of the traSh could have been compoStedour cArbon foot- utilized. The Evergreen Organic Farm processes one-third of the food waste. The composting And reuse is A very impor-print, sAve money, campus facility contains three thermophylic reactors and a dysfunctional vermicompost- tAnt wAy to turn “wAste” products And help to Achieve ing (worm) system. The farm’s processing capacity is limited into vAluAble resources. ...
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êêê.eèeãÄãeeá.edé/câÉFEATURES  5 Maí2 9 20,8 Campus Waste Audit: What are we throwing away?
  haLLeahte hdLS  duJen & WdaanamoWed  
On May 22, a group of students from Ecological Agriculture, Students of Ever-green for Ecological Design, and Devel-oping Ecological Agricultural Practices emptied out campus garbage bins to sort the “waste.” The goal was to separate and quantify the amount of recyclable and compostable material in the campus waste stream. After sorting garbage cans from Red Square, the Greenery, Seminar II, and the Sem II Café, we found only 12.5% “garbage” by weight, with 12.5% recyclables, and 75% compostable waste. The compostable waste was further divided into two categories: food waste (30%) and other compostables (45%) such as coffee cups, paper plates, soiled napkins, and biodegradable utensils. y ylregr dmore  comprehensive  
system on cympus ff
would be visible ynd  
educytionyl dreduce StudentS dig through the garbage to examine the waStefm ore than three Rainboe Si MSeJone S quarterS of the traSh could have been compoSted our cyrbon footeutilized. The Evergreen Organic Farmcmposting very impore processes one-third of the food waste. Theo ynd reuse is y  print dsyve money dcampus facility contains three thermophylic reactors and a dysfunctional vermicompost-tynt wyy to turn wyste uctsprod  ynd help to eychiev ing (worm) system. The farm’s processing capacity is limitedinto elyvulby rseuoesrc cf stpoom  cympus slyog for by infrastructure and storage space. The remaining food scraps go to a local pigis used to restore ntstrienu to the  Zero wyste by h2 2hfarm. Composting and reuse is a very importantsoil ynd improve soil quylity One of the most difficult things was decid- way to turn “waste” products into valuable ing what could be recycled and/or compos- resources. Compost is used to restore nutri-ted. For instance, tin foil is recyclable unless ents to the soil and improve soil quality. to the soil. campus goals for Zero Waste by 2020. it has food residue on it. Milk cartons do not Under our current agricultural system, Evergreen’s vision for a sustainable future It would be helpful if students were given have a recycling symbol, yet they are recy- much of the fertility needed to grow crops is stated in the Sustainability Task Force’s a brief lesson on the value and practice clable as well. comes from industrial fertilizer that is mission: of conserving, recycling, and compost-The garbage pile contained plastic wrap- manufactured with fossil fuels. Even most ing during orientation week. The school pers, chip bags, lids to plastic bottles, organic farms can trace their fertility to“The Evergreen State College will be aalso needs to provide containers to sort ketchup packets, and straws. these unsustainable sources. Organic grow-laboratory for sustainability as demon-compostables and food scraps. There also  Currently, a portion of the compostable ers often rely on animal manures for theirstrated in its operations, curriculum, andto be more education and signageneeds waste is diverted from the landfill andfertility needs, and most animals are fedquality of life for employees and students.relating to “waste” disposal. Campus Waste Auditcorn and soy products origi-We will nurture values and practical skillsStudents need to take responsibility for nating in conventional fieldsthat motivate a lifetime of commitment totheir part in producing waste. Simple things in the Midwest. If we desire toa sustainable, intergenerationally justlike coffee cups really add up; we found move towards a more sustain-way of living on a healthy planet.” you are going to be purchasinghundreds. If able system, we need to findbeverages on campus, bring your own mug! other ways to return nutrients Beginning next year, the campus will be Reducing resource use is more important to the farm. sending compostable waste to Silver Springs, than composting waste. Evergreen is touted as being a local compost facility that can process our If you are interested in carrying on the audit at the forefront of sustainabil- entire current stream of biodegradables. for the next school year, contact marben28@ ity education, However, this should be a temporary solu-yet the campus evergreen.edu. garbage consisted of 75% tion while planning a larger, more compre-biodegradable substances hensive system on campus that would beLeah Hall and Amanda Wedow are An lysis of 113 pounds of waste from Red Square and educational, reduce our carbon visiblethat, with proper sorting andseniors and Seth June is a junior; all three a save money, and help to achieveprocessing, could be returned footprint,are enrolled inEcological Agriculture.