Waste Sorting 101
Which trash bin does that coffee cup go in? What about that paper plate you used for lunch? What about a tea bag or a plastic clam shell?
Item by item, Ashley Pennington walked Osher members through how to dispose of common lunchroom supplies. Pennington is program manager for the Johns Hopkins University Office of Sustainability. She led a Waste Sorting 101 workshop at the Montgomery County Campus for members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Osher members are consistently the largest group on the campus during lunchtime.
The 30-minute event was designed to help participants become experts on campus waste: where it goes when it leaves campus; the environmental and social impact of our waste; and how to sort waste between the JHU trash and recycling bins. Pennington discussed with Osher members the benefits of composting, when possible. She encouraged them to return plastic grocery bags directly to the grocery store and to infrequently use plastic utensils.
The workshop originally was to be held during Earth Week in late April but due to a scheduling conflict, it was held in early May.
Osher members were engaged in the event, asking Pennington detailed questions about the proper way to dispose of newspaper bags and other items.
“It’s critical that we serve as educators,” she said. “With so many students, staff and faculty across our campuses, each member of the JHU community has a part to play, and we hope workshops equip them with the understanding needed to make environmental stewardship easy and impactful.”
Approximately 15 workshops were held around the university.
During the last fiscal year, the university recycled and composted 43 percent of its waste, and looks poised to do even better in 2017. The Montgomery County Campus will soon be displaying new signs on and near waste bin to better explain what trash goes where.