A group of Northwestern State University staff and student volunteers conducted a campus waste audit, which is a requirement for the university to remain a Keep Louisiana Beautiful affiliate.
According to KLB, “The purpose of a waste audit includes identifying the types of waste generated at university/college and estimating the weight and volume of the waste and recyclables. An audit, if applicable, may assist in identifying contamination issues or the level of improperly disposed waste materials in recycling containers. The results from an audit provide documentation to develop a plan of action for improving landfill diversion, increasing recycling, and reducing contamination.”
Audit locations included five sites where waste receptacles are required, which include an academic building, fitness facility, student union/cafeteria, quad or open space and a parking lot.
After a safety briefing, students and staff sorted the trash by separating paper, plastic, film, food packaging, metals, glass and organic matter to be weighed.
Findings will help the university identify ways to reduce single-use plastic and other waste as well as materials that could be recycled but are not. Findings could also determine the placement of waste receptacles and other sustainability activities.
By include student volunteers, the waste audit incorporates elements of service-learning, environmental science and teamwork.
“The primary purpose of the affiliate program is to educate and engage the next generation of business owners and community leaders on environmental issues such as waste reduction, litter prevention, and marine debris that have long-term effects on our state and the Gulf of Mexico. The audit results will assist the university in developing or enhancing strategies to reduce waste and potentially litter on campus,” according to KLB.
Pictured: Volunteers who sifted through trash during NSU’s waste audit were, from left, students Coree Nash, Avery Tullos, Mary Anna Scruggs, Zach Cooper, Jordan Richardson, Nilah Pollard and Dale Wohletz, Physical Plant director.