This past fall, UB Green teamed up with Alpha Phi Omega to audit the recycling station in Wellness Education Service (114 Student Union). Over the course of one week UB Green and volunteers from APO met at 114 SU to sort through trash, paper, bottles & cans, and compost. Getting down and dirty was a small price to pay in order to figure out how effective their recycling station was.
Wellness Education Services provide a unique case. Next to their recycling station they have a fantastic selection of teas and a water cooler that spurts out hot water to brew up a cup. Moreover, they have a very impressive composting center as part of their recycling station. The tea bags, wooden stir sticks, and even their specially ordered tea cups can all be composted! This is in addition to the typical fruit and vegetable remains, napkins, and paper towels.
This was great! But it also posed a problem. We were finding these materials (that should be in the compost bin) in large amounts in the trash bin, and scattered throughout the paper and bottles & cans bins. By the end of the week, over half the contents in the trash bin was diverted to the compost bin.
This is probably due to the fact that many students don't know much about composting, let alone that the specially ordered tea cups can be composted. After all, WES has an outstanding composting station that is not rivaled elsewhere on campus.
So what does this all mean? It means we need to educate! UB Green and Wellness Education Services are now working together to figure out solutions to the problems discovered through the audit. These solutions may range from educational/instructional posters to experimenting with different types of recycling bins.
The recycling audit went so well that we may even try out an energy audit!
If you're office is interested in having a recycling audit performed, contact the UB Green Office at 829-3535.