Dressed in protective Tyvek hazmat suits, Bowling Green State University students performed a trash audit
Thursday as part of Earth Week activities.
“Disposable coffee cups are not typically recyclable, because of the plastic liner and contamination from
from leftover liquid,” said Nicholas Hennessy, the event adviser from BGSU campus operations. “Coffee
cups are the number one thing, by quantity, for sure.”
The goal of the event was to see what is being thrown away on campus. The 13 garbage bags came from two
buildings, Olscamp Hall and the Business Administration Building, from a single day’s collection.
Bathroom trash was excluded.
Bags were torn open, dumped and sorted into piles.
The side of a slight hill helped liquid sludge from the garbage bags flow into a sewer drain. The sorting
area was located at one end of the oval outside the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.
Paper, plastic and coffee cups filled corners of the sorting area, which was blocked off by orange
construction fencing with a plastic sheet for a floor. A cup full of more than 50 plastic straws was
The all-volunteer Environmental Action Group is a campus organization that has already had some success.
Tatiana Rodzos, a BGSU senior, led the recent successful movement to remove plastic bags from campus.
They aren’t all gone yet, but the process is underway, she said.
According to Rodzos, dining services in the union has quit giving out plastic bags and other parts of
campus are scheduled to do the same.
The group did find true trash on Thursday.
“Garbage really has banana peels,” said freshman Clarissa Rodzos, as she sorted items from the pile of
Hennessy was sprayed by the contents of a bag early in the process with something he described as having,
“an office smell.”
While group president Dominique Scripter made sure all of the 10 activists taking part knew where the
massive bottle of hand sanitizer was located, she also made sure each person wore nitrile rubber gloves
and the durable Tyvek suits. The suits look like white paper, but Tyvek is an abrasive resistant fabric
that will also be a barrier to many sharp objects, such as broken glass.