Okanagan College students persisted through the stink and sticky as they got down and dirty with their campus garbage Wednesday.
The Kalamalka campus took part in a trash audit which looks at the garbage produced in a 24-hour period and determines how much of it could be kept out of the landfill.
It took two classes 45 minutes and a couple of dry-heaves to sort the garbage into six categories: recyclables, returnables, compost, garbage, paper coffee cups and other (e-waste).
The result is shocking: 70 to 80 per cent of the waste collected could have been diverted from the landfill.
Shocking but not news to Allisha Luther of GreenStep, the company brought in to lead the audit.
According to Luther, Kalamalka is actually a very green campus.
“There are very few returnables and the styrofoam is very minimal. It is great to see things like ceramic coffee cups being used and no creamers,” she said.
A large part of the campus waste is made up of brown paper towels that can be composted.
The brown paper towels have been made of paper that has been recycled so many times it can’t be recycled anymore but breaks down as compost.
Eric Reist, general manager of the student association, is excited that some of their waste reduction practices are working.
“We had very few returnables in the trash which shows our refund bins have been successful,” he said.
Reist is ready to look at the data from the garbage audit so they can find out what they can improve on.
“We have a community garden so maybe we can start a composting program. Once we have the information we can start looking at policy changes,” said Reist.