On a pleasant Friday morning, several student EcoReps and Andrew Cushing ’12, Bowdoin’s sustainability outreach assistant, pulled out all the trash bags they could find from first-year dorms to sift through them, hunting for recyclables. The trash audit, conducted once or twice a year, helps make students more aware of the amount of trash they could be keeping from the landfill.
Even in the crisp autumn air, the smell at times was strong. “Ewww,” said Dana White ’15, pulling out an old food container. “Let’s not question these things,” someone else suggested, steering the conversation away from the identity of some trash. “There’s a perfectly good Oreo in here!” Madeline Davis ’16 complained. “Oh, chocolate rice is really gross,” Cushing said, as brown goo slid out of a container he tipped.
“It’s a little weird,” Davis admitted of her task. “But it’s something that I feel is important for awareness. It’s gross, but someone has to do it.”
After they finished sorting the trash, the EcoReps weighed the amount of recyclable material they salvaged. The final tallies for the dorms were: Winthrop, 40%; Maine (data not available); Appleton, 20.8%; Hyde, 28.6%; Coleman, 55.7%; Moore, 33%; Osher, 13.1%; and West, 20%. The percentages represent how much waste could have been recycled.
The EcoRep “trashbusters” in the photos are Davis, Tyler DeAngelis ’15, Samantha Garvey ’16, Dana White ’15 and Kristen Nocka ’15.