Monday, April 26, 2010
We separated all the garbage into recycling containers and clear garbage bags, then weighed each type of garbage separately. Here's our final tally...
Compost: We have 3 compost buckets out where people are supposed to be eating, but we can't put any out where they often eat even though they shouldn't. So there was a lot of compost. In September we weighed 11.4 pounds*, but this time it was 53.8 pounds. Now the big part of that was two big heavy bags of yard waste that custodians were pitching. This is an issue. We're not supposed to ask custodians to do anything to help us because they're seriously understaffed, but how much more work is it to take yard waste to the composter instead of the garbage bin? It's likely the same number of steps. It's just one more thing to think about, though. But surely we can solve this dilemma. It's ironic because I need yard waste to layer with food waste, and we never have enough, so I bring it from home! And the custodians just pitch it. Funny that. So three bins full plus two bags. They all went into the compost bin. Today anyway. RETRACTION: Apparently it's NOT the custodians at all - but we can't seem to find out where those two bags came from. It could be student volunteers that need a bit more training.
All in all we reduced our garbage by 15% since September, but somehow I don't feel like celebrating. We made a video about recycling and composting, and immediately I noticed a difference in the amount of compost in the bins. Now it plays regularly. We also put signs on garbage to remind people what NOT to put in there. In the one day of waste auditing we took out 43% of our waste for composting or recycling. If people could pay attention to where they're tossing their garbage, we could cut our landfill dumping by almost half!
Here's all the helpful students who learned how to sort garbage:
*I set the scales for pounds because I still don't have a feel for kilograms. They are meaningless to me.