PHOENIX — Arizona State University student Melissa Merrick started a recent day pulling wires, plastic bottles and bags and anything else that could be recycled or reused from 6,000 pounds of garbage.
All for research.
“It brings to light how much trash is actually recyclable and gives people an idea of how much trash does accumulate throughout the day,” said Merrick, joining others taking part in a study conducted by ASU’s School of Sustainability.
It was the sixth time since August that the group had sorted through trash from two SRP buildings in Tempe. Working at a City of Phoenix garbage transfer station, five students and nine faculty members carefully sorted items into 44 bins designated for different types of trash.
The goal of the Waste System Characterization Study, conducted in collaboration with SRP and the Phoenix Public Works Department: keeping items that can be reused out of landfills.
“It’s eye-opening,” said Jessica Groeneveld, project coordinator at Sustainability Solutions Extension Service, part of ASU’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative.
“Without our students and faculty members looking at what people are throwing away, the folks at SRP won’t realize what they are putting into a trash can,” she said. “All of these could have gone to landfill, and luckily we are able to pull stuff out to get another chance to recycle.”
John Hetrick, SRP’s manager of sustainability policy and programs, said the project will help the utility put in place programs and activities that reinforce sustainability.
“We expect to see a distribution of the types of waste that are coming out of our buildings and to use it to find opportunities to reduce waste,” he said.
Yvette Roeder, spokeswoman for the Phoenix Public Works Department, which provided facilities and transportation for the project, said the study will help the city provide better service.
“The outcome of their findings will certainly help not only the city of Phoenix to learn how people recycle, what people throw away and adjust what we could offer to our customers, but what they found out can be shared with the rest of the region,” Roeder said.
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier