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WASTE AUDIT AND RECYCLING AT UNIVERSITY RESIDENCE HALLS

AUTHOR/S: S. E. HASAN, R. K. JOHNSTON
Sunday 1 August 2010 by Libadmin2010

10th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference - SGEM2010, www.sgem.org, SGEM2010 Conference Proceedings/ ISBN 10: 954-91818-1-2, June 20-26, 2010, Vol. 2, 957-964 pp

ABSTRACT

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), a state-supported higher education
institution, is located in a large metropolitan area in the central United States. In order to
evaluate students’ attitude toward recycling and environmental sustainability, a waste
audit along with a survey was conducted at three residence halls at UMKC in fall of
2009 as part of a term project for the “Introduction to Waste Management” class. The
residence halls were audited by student teams that physically sorted all solid waste into
various categories— glass, metals, organics, papers, plastics, and electronics; and all
other tasks outlined in the Waste Audit Manual that was prepared to facilitate the
assignment. Result of the audit showed that the waste stream in all three residence halls
is dominated by paper and paper products, plastics, organics (food waste), glass, and
aluminum; with minor amounts of electronics (batteries, etc.).
A specially-designed survey was sent via email to 1470 residents to assess their attitude
toward recycling. The survey revealed that more than 57% students were actually
involved in recycling efforts; about 38% were willing to do so, and only 3% did not
want to participate in the recycling program. In addition, 91% students expressed their
willingness to serve on the “Green” team to coordinate recycling efforts at the residence
halls.
Survey results identified problems that were impediment to better recycling, and
showed that more students would participate to boost the recycling efforts if some
simple modifications were made to the existing recycling program. Some of which
included placing more waste bins at convenient locations on each floor of the residence
halls, proper communication about existence of the recycling program, and recycling
awareness and education. Students also made insightful recommendations to improve
recycling rate at the residence halls.
The paper discusses the characteristics of the student’s population, methodology used
for the waste audit, nature and quantity of the waste generated, survey instrument, and
students’ perception on recycling and environmental sustainability.

Keywords: solid waste, waste audit, university residence hall, recycling, sustainability

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