Students talk trash for a good cause
Donathan Prater / Opelika-Auburn News
November 16, 2007
Usually, trash talking isn’t a good thing, but in this case if you weren’t talking it, you weren’t doing the job right.
Trash, better yet the recycling and reduction of it, was the idea behind the Second Annual Landfill on the Lawn Event held at Auburn University.
It was also America Recycles as well as Alabama Recycles Day, which was recently declared by Gov. Bob Riley.
Students donned coveralls and rubber gloves as they sorted through several hundred pounds of paper, plastic and aluminum waste products collected from buildings on Cater Hall’s lawn as part of AU’s Recycling Program.
Auburn University’s Recycling Program has been in place since 2005.
In addition to raising awareness about the need to recycle, one of the goals behind the Landfill on the Lawn event is to gather data on how to better manage the program in terms of how many recycling bins are needed and where they need to be placed on campus, according to Donny Addison, university solid waste reduction and recycling coordinator.
But in many ways, AU’s Recycling Program has already made inroads.
"We’re collecting several tons of trash a week at AU," said Addison, 25, a graduate horticulture student.
However, Addison realizes that when it comes to recycling, there’s a lot more work to be done, and every little bit counts.
"From a global perspective, the U.S. consumes more than any other country by far, so when it comes down to the individual taking the time and energy to do the right thing and sort through their trash , it means a lot," Addison said. "We have landfills to dispose of our trash in, but we need to remember that those landfills have a life span and will someday be full."
And while most folks only see the packaging they toss out as garbage, Addison sees it as not only potential profit, but as less strain on our natural resources to create new packaging for products.
"That packaging has value to it," Addison said. "People are paying for that when they buy the product even though when you buy a box of cereal you want the crunchy cereal inside the box-not the box itself."
The data from the Landfill on the Lawn event will also factor into the upcoming Recyclemania event, which will run from Jan. 27 through May 5, 2008.
Recyclemania is a national recycling competition between universities across the country to see which school can recycle the most, as well as monitor how much waste in produced on college campuses.
The event started back in 2001 between Miami University (OH) and Ohio University, but has grown in participation and popularity since that time.
"We’re hoping to get 100 percent participation from Southeastern Conference schools," said Addison.
Auburn students were given nearly 4,000 reusable bags to sort their recyclable items with and place in bins provided around the campus.
While the weather was quite windy, a chance to help out the environment was one Scott Russell, 18, wasn’t going to blow.
"Recycling has always been a big part of my life," said Russell, a freshman environmental science student.
Russell helped start a recycling program while he was a student at Hoover High, so when he heard about Landfill on the Lawn, it was a cause he "dove right into."
"I know sorting through a bag of trash may sound disgusting to some people, but I love doing it and hopefully doing something good for the Earth will keep me on the good side with God," Russell said.