UMass students learn about sustainability by sorting through trash

The campus also has programs to properly recycle e-waste

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Students at UMass came together to sort through dozens of bags of trash from across campus.

In the spring of 2016 alone, UMass Amherst recycled more than 2,000 tons, but Tuesday’s trash sort helped shed a light on what items students are forgetting to throw in the recycle bin.

Dozens of UMass students were up to their elbows in waste, working through roughly 30 bags of trash to find disposed items that didn’t make it to the recycling.

Sustainability Coordinator Laurie Simmons told 22News, “Going through the waste and the data they get from this waste will help inform our composting and recycling initiatives.”

Students sorted through trash from four different parts of campus, dropping items into bins designated for recycling, composting, or disposal. Students will collect information on the most common recycling mistakes they see to help inform future campus recycling campaigns.

“Some of like the major offenders, so whether that’s people putting their recyclable materials in a plastic bag, then throwing that whole bag into the recycling bin,” Simmons told 22News. “Solo cups, plastic cups in general, everybody thinks they’re recyclable because they have that little recycling symbol on the bottom.”

The campus also has programs to properly recycle e-waste, including non-working mini fridges, batteries, and ink cartridges.