Since last year, we can see many compost bins show up on campus and in the buildings. UW also announced the increase of recycle and compost rate, it is a good news for us and to the environment where we live.
This quarter, I and my colleague have a chance to run a little garbology research on campus. We pick up two trash bags from Physics Building and Denny Hall and analyze them. Originally we want to see if there are any differences of trash between ‘Hard’ and ‘Soft’ science. Except the Physics-related magazine, it seems hard to differ these two trash from this single study. If we want to derive some more concrete results, we better to have a long term observation of the trash from these two buildings.
However we do find some interesting results other than our original plan. After the analysis of trash, we find that there are many compostable stuff in the trash bag, so we sort the trash again. For the trash bin context, there is no compost bin close to the Physics trash where we collect, but there is one compost bin close to the trash bin where we collect in Denny. It seems the set of compost bin beside the trash bin indeed influence our behavior of throwing trash.
Most of the paper towels, napkins and coffee cups are compostable, and some bio-plastic cup for cold drinks are compostable as well, but we still find a lot of these stuff in the trash. Compare to where I came from, Taiwan, the recycle and compost process is relatively easy, we just need to sort our trash and put them into right bins. In Taiwan, we have to clean and rip off the un-recyclable parts before we dump it. That why I say it is easy to do out here.
Next time, before you throw, stop, think and dump. 🙂