Waste not, want not

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During Earth Week in April, UGA’s Office of Sustainability performed a waste audit of the Miller Learning Center to evaluate the effectiveness of a new waste reduction pilot program. Research by Will Grant, a UGA environmental engineering student and intern, found that the MLC building contained 10 times more trash cans than recycling bins. In an attempt to make it as convenient to recycle as it is to throw something away, the office partnered with Physical Plant Support Services and UGA Libraries to install a new waste reduction pilot program. Now waste reduction stations are located throughout the building, with bottles and cans and paper recycling bins next to trash containers, which have been labeled “landfill.” The MLC waste bins were emptied and sorted to determine the effectiveness of the pilot program. The audit showed that the MLC produced 260 pounds of trash and that eight percent of the trash could have been recycled—a 56 percent decrease in materials going to the landfill since a 2008 audit.