Every year students in the Environmental Health Science program conduct a campus waste audit. Trash is collected from several buildings and the Quad for a week. Students then sort through the trash to identify materials that could have been recycled but are instead ending up in trash receptacles – and eventually landfills. This project is not only educational for the students in learning about waste reduction strategies, the University benefits as well.
Through the audits, recyclable materials that are commonly discarded in the waste stream are identified, as well as areas with higher or lower recycling rates. This allows staff to better target their outreach and educational efforts. It also allows the University to measure its progress over time. The percentage of materials found in the trash that should have been recycled has improved from more than 40% in 2002 to roughly 10.5% in 2009!
ISU Alternative Energy Machine (AEM)
The Renewable Energy Society in partnership with the Association of Residence Halls is constructing an educational device that will have solar and wind energy displays. In addition, the project will include displays about how clean various fuels burn.
On the first day of spring, a student organized Freecycle type of event that was held in the basement of CVA. Members of the Illinois State University community were encouraged to drop off items they no longer wanted and take with them any items that might interest them that were left by others. Instead of disposing of useful items and allowing them to wind up in a landfill, freecycling allows these items a second life – free of cost to their new owners.