Thursday, June 23, 2011

What do campers throw away?

Now that I've been working in the waste reduction and recycling sector for a while, I know that a waste sort is more officially called a waste characterization study or a waste composition study -- because you're doing the sort to find out what's in the waste stream.

Rose (check her out in the video) is doing her GreenCorps stint with the Three Rivers Park District. She's done 8 or 9 waste studies in 9 months! She was looking for volunteers, so I went out to Baker Park Reserve in Maple Plain to help.

Here was the staging ground:

What's in campers' trash, and how well do they recycle at a campground? This study aimed to find out.

A sorting station consists of a long table covered with a tarp or large piece of wood, and the bins you're sorting into (the green ones on the ground) are arrayed around the table. Three to four sorters work best, and you get into a groove.

This group found something that was double-bagged, and it was heavy and uniformly squishy. Note the apprehension on their faces as they investigate .....

We were all in suspense, fearing the worst (grossest). "What IS it?!"

Beef stew.

Steve was super-ultra dedicated and climbed into this dumpster. The stench was quite powerful because of all the rain we've been getting.

See how he's delicately balancing himself on these boards? He was scooping garbage out of the water, which was at least a couple of inches deep. Like I said: super-ultra dedicated.

This cute young fox visited us. He wasn't afraid of us at all (bad idea, little fox!).

Every waste sort needs a mascot. This was our table's.

1 comment:

  1. So WHAT do campers throw away again? Other than Beefstew? That's pretty important for my investigation. Needs a more informative approach to qualify as a waste study I believe, other than that I enjoyed reading this.