Pacific Lutheran University: “Garbology” Waste Sort
A day of sorting through food scraps, tennis balls, candy wrappers, and other material paid off as passersby at Pacific Lutheran University stopped to comment on the mountain of “stuff” that could have been diverted from the waste stream. Some were so shocked that they questioned the results of the waste audit.
“It just proved that we needed an eye-opener,” said Chrissy Cooley, PLU’s sustainability coordinator, who is overseeing the Tacoma, Wash.’s university’s participation in RecycleMania, the national collegiate recycling competition that is administered by Keep America Beautiful.
PLU diverts more than 70 percent of its waste, and this event helped show the community that more can be done. A team effort by several campus groups, the biggest challenge was getting the word out in advance of the event. “It’s not so hard to dump a bunch of trash and sort it. It’s hard to let students know why we’re doing this,” said Cooley.
Thinking of organizing your own “Garbology?” Read about how Cooley and her team revamped PLU’s RecycleMania marketing plan and improved its waste diversion rate.