Feb 112009
Authors: Stephen Lin

Counting more than a ton and a half of trash is a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Workers and volunteers from Integrated Solid Waste and the Live Green team spent Wednesday sorting through more than 3,000 pounds of garbage dumped onto the west end of the Lory Student Center Plaza, auditing trash picked up from campus resident halls.

The groups tackled the mountain at the end of University Drive, uncovering soda cans, cereal, tissues, newspapers and hundreds of bags full of trash to document what items were salvageable for recycling.

The trash audit is a way to “demonstrate to the campus how much could have been recycled,” said Tonie Miyamoto, director of Communications for Housing and Dining Services.

Aaron Briscoe, a worker in Facilities Management and volunteer with the Live Green team, said that the audit would help “show students and people at CSU how much recyclables they throw away.”

Since CSU has switched to single-stream recycling this semester, Briscoe predicted that there would be less recyclables among the trash since “the biggest complaint was sorting.”

Last year 40 percent of the trash could have been recycled.

This year, 24 percent of the trash was recyclable. Workers managed to pull out 300 pounds of paper, 97 pounds of cardboard and 320 pounds of comingled recyclables from over a ton of trash.

Jeff Morrell, chair of the Live Green Team, said that the object of the trash audit is “to get people to open their eyes and say ‘we can recycle.'”

“It’s not that hard being green,” he added

The trash audit took place during CSU’s Recyclemania campaign, competing with universities across the nation in recycling.

CSU currently sits in 10th place in the Grand Champion division, which measures the total percentage recycled, at 51.71 percent. In first place is California State University — San Marcos with 80.31 percent. Also, CSU sits in 15th place in the Waste Minimization category, which measures the least pounds per person produced.

Overall, CSU is ahead of rival CU-Boulder, which is ranked 157th in the Grand Champion division and 22nd in the Waste Minimization category.

Staff writer Stephen Lin can be reached at news@collegian.com

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