One of the problems on campus when it comes to waste, has to do with the communication between the students and the University. On the one hand, many students are unaware and uneducated about how to properly manage their waste, which leads to an excessive amount of contamination in OSU’s waste streams. On the other hand, many students feel a general lack of trust for the way that their waste is handled. Rumors are widespread that the university doesn’t actually recycle at all, and that the recycling bins are simply “for show.” Of course, although some of OSU’s recycling does actually get recycled, a fair portion of is directed straight to the landfill. However, most students don’t understand that a large part of the issue is contamination, and that they have agency when it comes to making changes in the way their waste in handled.
The Great Waste Audit: OSU, is a community and performance art piece, which brings transparency to the way waste is handled on campus. In this event, all of the waste from all of the waste streams on main campus are collected for one day, and brought to the Oval. Here, student volunteers and staff (in protective gloves and clothing) will sort through and audit the waste stream, and build a visible, tangible display of what our collective waste looks like. It brings to the forefront what is normally left behind the scenes, and gives students the chance to be involved, to be interested, and to be educated on their waste practices.