The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

What’s in your trash?

On Tuesday afternoon the front lawn of Sutherland Hall was covered in garbage in an effort to be “greener” on upper campus. Contradictory as it sounds, the Housing Office of Sustainability held an event called the “Trash Sort” to see how well Governors and Sutherland Halls recyclereusable material.

“It is part of a pilot project we are doing for sustainability that is targeting the halls,” said Kate Hartsel, housing sustainability coordinator.

The pilot project will be targeting Governors and Sutherland Halls.  This particular event is acting as an experiment because another trash sort will be held in the spring to see if the halls have improved their recycling habits.

Hartsel said the main purpose of the event was to heighten student knowledge about recycling.

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“The main purpose of the trash sort is to bring more awareness to students living in housing about what they are throwing away that they could be recycling, or should be recycling,” Hartsel said. “A lot of times they don’t realize they can recycle things that they are throwing away.”

During the event, Hartsel and three custodial workers sorted through 1.5 yard garbage containers from Bridgman, Sutherland, and Governors Halls. They were looking for glass, plastic, cardboard, cans, paper, CFL light bulbs and batteries.

The materials that could have been recycled were placed on a scale and weighed.  Pat Reed, a custodial helper that helped sort through the trash, said the most common items found were paper and plastic.

The results of the sort showed Bridgman Hall with 9.7 lbs. of material that could have been recycled, Governors had 8.5 lbs., and Sutherland had 11.7 lbs.

There is a margin of error with the results of the sort. Sutherland Hall has more residents than the other two and the sorters took trash from one bin in each hall.

Junior Alayna Spengler helped hand flyers and stickers out to students during the event.  She said the trash sort event is a start to improving recycling habits.

“There is a limited amount of all the things we are using,” she said. “We are eventually going to run out of it and I’d prefer it be much later than much sooner.”

Hartsel said Governors and Sutherland Halls will be receiving more information throughout the year about recycling and sustainability. Since Bridgman will not be receiving as much information, the hall will be acting as a “control hall” for the experiment.

The Housing Office of Sustainability has other events planned over the course of the year. A “Do-It-In-The-Dark” night will consist of residents from Governors and Sutherland Halls participating in night games on Oct. 2.

Sustainability Trash Talks will be held throughout the year with presentations about issues of sustainability. There will also be a craft night, trivia, and photo scavenger hunt.

Hartsel hopes the upcoming events, much like the Trash Sort, will create awareness about sustainability issues for students.

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What’s in your trash?