Otter Express Waste Audit and Zero Waste Training


On March 10 and 11th, students and staff got their hands dirty sorting waste generated from the Otter Express during the prior 2-day period.

We held all the waste generated at the Otter Express from Tuesday March 8th - March 9th. This produced approximately 60 full bags of trash destined for the landfill. We took about 20 of the bags and emptied them on the main quad - we separated the contents into compost, recycling and landfill. The results are below.

Sixteen cubic ft of landfill (7 tubs); 20.25 cubic ft of recycling (9 tubs); 24.75 cubic feet of compost (11 tubs). These results indicate there is a lot of opportunity to increase diversion in the Otter Express, both where customers dispose of their waste and in the prep/kitchen area. Some of the common items we found from the prep areas included food waste, latex gloves and plastic wrapping/packaging. From the customer areas, common items included the single use brown "boats" and wrapping, plastic food containers, and food.

By the nature of the facilities itself, the Otter Express serves items "to go", therefore it is important to ensure that the types of materials used in the facility are able to be recycled or composted. For example, the white soft drink cups with blue stripes can not be recycled or composted. An additional option is to implement a glove recycling program - or even better, to eliminate the material itself, such as removing small containers for sauce and sour cream with pump-style condiment dispensers.

The event on Friday included presentations for event staff (5 participants), students (14), procurement officers (19), custodians (7). Some of the key items discussed included developing a green events guide, starting a reuse program for move-out and move-in, improved signage and bin placement, and providing additional training for custodial staff.