Two Dumpsters’ worth of trash will be spilled onto Butler University’s west mall April 17 at 11:00 a.m. so students in the Sustainability Practicum course can gauge the amount of food and recyclables in a portion of the University’s garbage.

Brian Foster, Environmental Manager for Covanta, Indianapolis's incinerator, explains the trash-burning process to Sustainability Practicum students.
Brian Foster, Environmental Manager for Covanta, Indianapolis’s incinerator, explains the trash-burning process to Sustainability Practicum students.


Ray’s Trash Service, which hauled Butler’s garbage, will overturn the receptacles, dumping out approximately 1,600 pounds of refuse collected from Atherton Union and Ross Hall, sites of the University’s two largest student dining halls.

McKenzie Beverage, Butler’s Sustainability Coordinator and instructor for the Sustainability Practicum class, said the purpose of the exercise is to show the amounts of food that’s going to waste and recyclables that are ending up in the trash.

“Because this is an awareness campaign, having a big pile of trash outside is very eye-opening and attention-getting,” Beverage said.

Students will be tweeting their observations at #DawgsGoGreen14. The Twitter account name is @trashauditBU.

An anthropology class will take the recyclables removed from this load of trash and use them for an art project.

The trash audit is part of Earth Week events as well as a bigger initiative to raise awareness about waste and recycling among Butler students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

Other activities include:

-April 14-18: Food Waste Awareness in Dining Halls. Students from Beverage’s class will display pre-consumer food waste totals in the dining halls as an awareness tactic about food waste. Food waste accounts for 10 percent of landfill content in Indiana, a large source of greenhouse gas emissions. Butler Dining Services has reduced its pre-consumer food waste by 18 percent since April 2013, and continues to explore reduction tactics. 

-April 16: Jim Poyser from Earth Charter IN will host the “Ain’t Too Late Show” at 7:00 p.m. in Pharmacy Building Room 150. Collection bins will be provided to help support the Movers for Moms initiative.

-April 19: Student Government Association’s Green Ops will coordinate a White River clean-up in cooperation with the Health and Recreation Center, Friends of the White River, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, and the International School of Indianapolis. From 9:00 a.m. to noon, Butler students will clean up litter via canoe along the river between Rocky Ripple and the International School. 

-April 22-28: Move-Out Recycling Competition for Butler Seniors. Seniors preparing to move out of their houses can contribute unwanted but recyclable items for free, diverting those cast-off materials from landfills.

In February and March, Butler participated in RecycleMania, an eight-week national competition between universities to promote waste reduction and recycling. In late March, a student group from the Sustainability Practicum class created a Greek house competition to help RecycleMania efforts. They collected 1,250 pounds of recyclables from seven Greek houses in a two-week period.

Beverage said Butler also is involved in a number of long-range environmental efforts, including:

-Submission of the University’s sustainability and climate action plan, part of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment that President James M. Danko signed in 2012.

– The student-run initiative Butler Biodiesel has made its first batch of biodiesel fuel from waste cooking oils generated on campus with new equipment funded by the Butler Innovation Fund. The group plans to give the biodiesel away on a first-come, first-served basis this summer.   

-Butler College of Business Real Business Experience students have started a recycling company called Green U to service Greek houses and Butler senior houses at a subsidized rate.


Media contact:
Marc Allan