This January, Recology CleanScapes teamed up with Seattle Central College’s Sustainability Council to perform a waste audit at their Capitol Hill campus. Thirty student and staff volunteers representing the Sustainability Council, environmental studies classes, and general school population helped sort and measure over 80 bags of waste from heavy-use buildings at Seattle Central. Volunteers sorted, weighed and estimated volumes for nine different material categories. Based on findings from the audit, the Sustainability Council identified improvement areas on campus in which to focus education, and target certain materials that are frequently not placed in correct waste stream, such as food waste and paper cups. For example, a high percentage of food waste and liquid filled paper cups were found outside food-prohibited areas, such as computer labs.
Moving forward, the Council plans to post the waste audit results in high traffic areas, create uniform waste stations and signage, and introduce a campus-wide campaign around its newly implemented composting program. Recology CleanScapes will be training the Council members to be on-site experts as they roll out their campaign and continue to reduce waste on campus. Tackling trash isn’t easy and it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. Seattle Central is well on their way to environmental excellence!