New trash cans promote sustainability on campus

Jackson LaMarNews Reporter

The Adanti Student Center received five new trash cans designed to help the university better sort out trash from food waste in hopes of then converting it into gas, electricity and mulch.

According to Recycling Coordinator of the Office of Sustainability, Heather Stearns, Southern implemented this system two years ago at Connecticut Hall for the workers, and it has saved the university money.

“The cost of composting is minimal compared to what waste hauling is,” said Stearns. “We are looking at 92 dollars a ton to get rid of  trash, then these 32 gallon toters we have [are] five dollars a toter.”

During this program at Conn. Hall, the trash collection went from four days a week to only two days, and Stearns believes she can reduce that number even further.

“We’re trying to get to one [day for trash pickup]. I’d like to see us at zero waste in that building,” Sterns said.

The original idea was that if students sorted trash, then the export from the Student Center would decrease, as it did in Conn. Hall.

With that being said, the situation now falls on the students and the biggest problem becomes clear.

The problem is trying to get students to understand that you can’t contaminate something,” said Brad Crerar, director of the Adanti Student Center.  Throwing food or trash in the wrong bin contaminates the whole bin. If the bin gets contaminated, it cannot be converted to energy or mulch.

To get Southern students more involved with sorting their trash from Adanti Student Center, the Office of Sustainability hired more workers to stand by the cans and educate students as much as they can about the process.

“We’re trying to spread the word, cause it’s a little foreign; people aren’t that familiar with it,” said environmental systems and sustainability major Derek Faulkner. “It’s excellent, easy and an easy way to reducing the amount of stuff that’s going to a landfill.”

This program with the garbage cans was well received by most of the student body.

Communications major Nathalia Curi, a sophomore, credits Southern for tackling these issues.  “We are a woke campus,” Curi said. “We care about a lot of things that most people don’t think about.”

Photo credit: Essence Boyd

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