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Butler students dig through trash for final project

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)–Some students at Butler University spent their Thursday digging through garbage.

It was all part of their biology final.

“I’ve been here four years now, and I never thought I’d be digging through trash,” Andrew Bartels said.

He’s a senior in BIO 407, a class that’s been studying food waste this semester.

“I hope you guys like bananas. There’s like six bananas over here,” Bartels said to his classmates.

They’re trying to figure out how much food is being wasted on parts of campus, and how many recyclables end up in the wrong bin.

“We’re trying to save the planet, make everything look nicer, and from a university standpoint we’re trying to reduce our waste as well,” Bartels said.

The project debuted last year, when students found one third of the trash they studied was food waste and another third was recyclable. That sparked an on-campus effort to increase recycling and reduce waste, led by the class teacher, McKenzie Beverage. Wednesday, she was waiting to see if that campaign would affect this year’s results.

“We’re seeing if what we’ve done has been effective, and from a university standpoint we’re trying to reduce our waste as well,” said Beverage, who is also the university’s Sustainability Coordinator.

A University spokesperson reported that the group found 376 pounds in recyclables and about 163 pounds of waste from the two dumpsters they studied Thursday. Last year, the spokesperson said the group found about 600 pounds of each from the same dumpsters.