Mount Trashmore reveals growing quantities of trash on campus

For the second year as part of Campus Sustainability Week, Mount Trashmore was built in front of the University Center and Student Union as a visual aid to demonstrate one day’s worth of trash on our campus. The totals this year showed that the amount of trash NKU sent to the landfill increased, but the amount of trash recycled increased as well according to Jane Goode, NKU Planning Coordinator.

“Most people are like ‘wow that’s all from one day?’” said Hope Marksberry, an environmental science major, who helped with the event.

This year 15,890 pounds of trash was collected in a 24 hour period, as opposed to last year’s total of 15,325; this is an increase of 565 pounds. However, 2,068 pounds were recycled this year as opposed to 1,400 pounds last year, which is an increase of 680 pounds.

“I think the future is really bright for sustainability here on campus,” said Goode. “Every class that comes in is greener than before.”

Goode, Marksberry and others had a booth, which was moved inside the Student Union due to Tuesday’s rain and cold. There they offered students the chance to sign a sustainability pledge by checking whatever boxes they felt comfortable doing on a daily basis and digitally submit the form.

The tasks listed on the pledge varied from joining Environmentally Concerned Organization of Students (ECOS) or Alpha Phi Omega (APO) to turning lights off in a room when they are finished, carpooling, using reusable dishware and things of that nature.

Lauren McClanahan, a sophomore early childhood education major, signed the pledge. McClanahan said she was raised to recycle, but finds it difficult living in the dorms partly because she eats out a lot and doesn’t have much to recycle in her trash.

Selyna Sanders, a sophomore computer science major, also signed because she already participates in a lot of sustainability and recycling activities, and she felt why not take a couple more steps. Sanders added that she saw this in school and brought it home. “Rumpke is like ‘stop recycling,’” she said.

Despite the steps taken to improve our ecological footprints, there is still a lot of room for improvement on campus.

Goode said a bad habit she sees on campus often is students not using the recycling bins even though they there. Also, many students buy bottled water as opposed to refilling their own containers.

“I see people, they sit down for lunch and they walk away from their water bottles,” said Marksberry. “Pick it up; put it in your backpack, it’s not that hard.”

Goode wants students to know that everybody can help; everybody can do something.

“I would love to see students be active in the waste sustainability that is here on campus. They have much more power than they think,” said Goode.

Next year Goode hopes to start spreading information about Sustainability Week sooner, so people can start ramping down the amount of trash they produce as well as challenge them to improve.

“I would like to do some other smaller events around Mount Trashmore that basically talk about why we’re doing it,” said Goode.