Earth Day volunteers needed for trash audit

Radford University’s Recycling Department is looking for a few good students willing to don haz-mat suits and dig through every scrap of trash from bins around campus to determine how much recyclable material was lost in the trash.


On Earth Day, April 24, as part of the university’s sustainability activities, student volunteers will sort through the trash bins in residential buildings for the Recycling Department’s official waste audit. The audit will run from 3 to 4 p.m. on Heth Lawn.

The goal is to create community awareness of the campus waste stream and to begin a comprehensive waste audit that will inform new strategies for campus waste reduction and recycling.

"Sometimes audits are done for visibility and awareness' sake. Some audits are done to specifically find out what's in the municipal solid waste stream, to characterize the waste and to use that information to make better policies," said RU Recycling Coordinator Pavan Muddanna. "We are doing both."

During the audit, waste will be sorted into five categories: recyclable mixed paper, containers, cardboard, batteries and compostable materials like food waste and napkins. Items not included in those categories will be sorted separately. After sorting station containers are filled, student volunteers will determine the gross weight of each container and record the material type, weight and volume.

The information will be used to determine if there is a need for more recycling education on campus, Muddanna said. "For instance, are we getting a lot of recyclables in the general waste stream? We hope this will tell us some things we can use throughout our residence halls and the entire campus."

Free recycling T-shirts will be given to the first 30 volunteers to arrive at the waste audit site. To learn more, contact Muddanna at or (540) 831-7207, or visit

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Apr 9, 2013
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761