Interns conduct their first Waste Stream Investigation of the year!

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*Student Blog*

On Wednesday, September 22, the Earth Team interns conducted a waste contamination audit on the Upper Campus at Oakland Tech. The goal of the audit was to gauge how well students were following the three-bin system at the beginning of the school year, so we would understand what steps would need to be taken in order to decrease contamination levels. It is important to prevent this contamination because putting something in the recycling or compost bin that doesn’t belong there can cause large amounts of waste that surround it to be prevented from being efficiently reused. Likewise, when compostable or recyclable items are put in the landfill, it causes unnecessary trash pollution because these materials could instead be recycled or turned into soil.

On the day of the audit, it was extremely hot and everybody was tired after a long day of school and walking up to the upper campus. Sorting trash while wearing sweaty latex gloves was certainly not the ideal way that most of us wanted to be spending our afternoon, but it taught a very valuable lesson that we will continue to learn throughout the year at Earth Team.

We are working to solve a problem much bigger than ourselves, and it is important to remember how powerful each individual’s work is and to maintain a strong work ethic even when it is hard to do so.

Written by:  Ro’e, OTH Intern

In order to thrive as a public school with a newly implemented 3-Bin System, we must make sure our waste is being sorted properly by everyone on campus. One way to help ensure our waste gets sorted properly is through doing a waste audit. A waste audit determines the amount and types of trash which a certain group, school, or even household has produced. We completed our own waste audit at Oakland Tech’s upper campus, where we previously have not done any audits. Although all of tech’s students have been educated on the 3 bin system, doing an audit would help us see how much we need to improve our sorting and therefore how much more education is necessary.

After completing this process with all of our bags of waste and recording all of the correct data, our waste audit was complete. We closed the meeting by comparing our hypotheses with the actual contamination rates – some were very similar while others were worse/better than predicted. By doing this waste audit, we were able to find more information on how we can help make the 3 bin system at our school completely effective.

Written By: Lucy, OTH Intern 

When doing the Upper Campus Audit, we separated the recycling, compost, and landfill and collected multiple platforms of data; weight, volume, and frequency. Below are the results by weight (district’s way of measuring). 

Recycling = 7% Contaminated 

Compost = 19% Contaminated 

Landfill = 47% Contaminated 

After our audit we worked together to create a detailed report of our findings. The fact that the report is being shared to the district is scary and exciting. It is scary, well more nerve wracking because we know that our Audit Report will be read by important personal so we do not want any mistakes. However, it is more exciting than scary because our work is going to be used for the district which makes the work we have done that much more important work and we know that our work is for something greater than just our school which is also exciting. Overall,  I felt like the audit went smoothly and rather quick, we worked well together and we got it done.

Written By: Sophia, OTH Intern 

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