MTU students prepare for Earth Day

Local News

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) — Michigan Tech University’s Sustainability Demonstration House is hosting Keweenaw’s first waste reduction drive to kick off Earth Week 2020.

The primary goal of this campaign is to educate students and the public on how to recycle efficiently and what you should not be putting in your recycling bins.

“Something common that we see is people will recycle, but they actually will be recycling all wrong. Some big things that we see are people are not cleaning out their, jars, their cans, their boxes, their plastic containers before putting them into the recycling and if you have a small amount of food waste in a load of recycling, it will contaminate the entire load,” said Rose Turner, MTU Sustainability Demonstration House Coordinator.

With this drive, the Sustainability Demonstration House is asking the local community to save five items that cannot be recycled in the Houghton curbside recycling.

Those five items are batteries, any plastic bag with a number on it, egg cartons, plastic bottle rings & caps, and granola bar wrappers.

“So granola bar wrappers can’t typically be recycled anywhere at any curbside location in the country, just because their foil-lined, their plasticity, their using a unique material, so we found a company called TerraCycle, who will recycle these granola bars and convert them into a hard plastic that can be used for manufacturing,” said Turner.

The Waste reduction team is hoping that the community will realize how many resources are being wasted or un-utilized daily.

“Waste is something that’s in our culture right now because it’s so easy to buy something and throw it away,” said Tristan Tarsa, Tenant, MTU Sustainability Demonstration House.

“You don’t think of that material having to be produced that once it’s thrown away, it’s no longer useable, that you need to produce more of that material and when you are buying one thing at a time and throwing it away, it’s easy to think ‘oh, it’s not that much and not making a difference’. I think a big thing that this drive will do is when you see it all together, you’ll see how much volume of materials is produced and that’s just people bringing it to the drive-in our area. You start to realize how much potential is there and material and energy usage and just efficiency overall,” said Tarsa.

The Waste Reduction Drive will be held on Saturday, April 18th from 9 am to 5 pm at Fischer Hall on the Michigan Tech Campus.

For more information on the Michigan Tech University Sustainability Demonstration House, click here.

If you would like to participate in the Keweenaw’s First Waste Reduction Drive, click here.

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