The Sylvania Campus Green Team performed a waste audit on the campus’ garbage and what they found wasn’t pretty. The team discovered recyclables mixed in with the trash, effectively making them useless in recycling. Some of the recyclable waste found included plastic cups, glass bottles, newspapers and polystyrene – used in the dining hall for plates.
“It was shocking the amount of polystyrene in there,” said April Fong, biology instructor.
The Green Team included Fong, Linda Fergusson-Kolmes (biology instructor), Kim Smith (sociology instructor), Josh Liebschutz (chemistry instructor), the City of Portland’s Ronda Chapman and biology and science students Christina Yugay, Lyn Parmeter, Adam Clark, Graham Seaton, Laurel Rivera and Frederike Eyster. Chapman, based at PSU, works with Portland’s blue team to help reduce waste at businesses and typically helps organizations perform these types of waste audits.
The team convened early in the morning on March 2 and had the campus garbage collection put on hold until 9 a.m. Then the team dived into the dumpster and brought out each piece of trash in order to log it. Some of the more revealing things the team found included tarps and bags.
“We even found bags in bags, with other bags,” said Kim Smith. “There were lots of recyclable items in there.”
The Green Team will use their findings to write a report and an action plan for the campus for April’s Earth Week celebrations. Team members said they’d like to start a campaign to decrease the waste and set up a system to properly sort out the items that can be recycled.