UNO students dig in trash for greener campus

Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-06 18:31:30-04

UNO students dug through trash on campus as part of an effort to reduce the amount of waste taken to landfills.

It’s all part of an effort to make the campus along Dodge in Omaha greener.

Who would have thought so much information and research could come from digging through garbage?

UNO began studying exactly what's thrown away, to possibly develop composting at the school.

Thursday, volunteers found out how well the school separates trash from recyclables.

They found some things thrown in the wrong bin.

"We've definitely found some interesting things in some of the recycling bags like nice hunks of meat and stuff like that," said Freshman Christopher Schmidt.

Schmidt says he's happy to dig through trash.

"I truly think it's important that we become more eco-friendly as a campus and so I think getting students exposed to stuff like this will lead to that," Schmidt said.

Junior Mia Steenkamp also doesn't mind getting her hands dirty.

"I definitely imagine being part of making the campus more sustainable,” Steenkamp said. “If that's part of it, then so be it."

After calculating how well things were, or weren't recycled, they'll use the information to change labeling on trash and recycle bins.

It also gives them an idea if composting will work at the university.

"We try to imagine our waste as a resource and not garbage,” said Sarah Burke, UNO sustainability coordinator. “It can actually be used to make compost that can then go and fertilize our lawns. We could use it for mulch here on campus."

Separating trash from compost and recyclables is part of a larger goal to cut the school's landfill waste in half.

"When we send things to the landfill we're double paying, basically,” Burke said. “We're paying for out dumpster to be empty here and then we're also paying for it to be dumped at the landfill."

The school will do campus waste sorting at least once per month.