What would they find in your trash?

Fort Lewis College students conduct garbage audit on school campus


Student volunteers spent some time Tuesday sorting through 300 pounds of trash collected in Fort Lewis College classrooms and the Student Union to find salvageable plastic, paper, metal, glass and compostable material.

It was the annual waste audit sponsored by the campus Environmental Center. The first effort to show what the campus waste stream produces started in 1999.

“We’re trying to put a visible face on the waste that we throw away,” said Moe Igoe, who was coordinating the effort of a half-dozen volunteers rummaging through mounds of waste spread on a large blue tarp.

“Throwing waste away isn’t enough,” said Igoe, a freshman environmental studies major, said. “It just doesn’t disappear.”

Ugljesa Janjic a freshman music major from Boulder, dropped by to help.

“It’s a worthwhile project,” Janjic said. “It sounded like fun.”

At the end of the day, there would be three piles – recyclable items, compostable material and just plain junk.

Among recyclable items were metal cans, glass and bottles of No. 1 and No. 2 plastic. The plastics pile contained packaging and bottles not made of No. 1 and No. 2 plastic.

Nondairy food scraps, including bread, vegetables and fruit, and to-go food containers used on campus are sent to the campus composter.

The British-built Rocket, which was installed last year, is a steel tube 13 feet long and 3.25 feet in diameter.

Food pulp to which wood chips are added for the carbon that breaks down organic matter allowed the college to increase composting of campus dining hall table waste from 1 percent to 90 percent.

Igoe said the Environmental Center has applied for a college grant to place bins in more than 700 campus dorm rooms and apartments to see if recycling increases.

Alex Brook, a member of the professional staff at the Environmental Center, is awaiting the start of the city of Durango’s single-stream recycling program scheduled to start in 2013.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens here on campus after the city’s program starts,” Brook said.

The new city recycling program allows residents to put all waste except glass in a single container.

daler@durangoherald.com

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