Forget about solving Fermat's Theorem, outlining the social messages in Charles Dickens' "Little Doritt," or mastering computer coding in HTML, University of Washington students are far from getting a passing grade when it comes to knowing what can be put in the recycling or compost.
UW Today reports a study by archeology graduate student Jack Johnson, who leads the "UW Garbology Project," found only 5 percent of the stuff thrown out on the Seattle campus was truly trash, all the rest of it could have been recycled or composted.
Johnson and his team spent five days going through the stuff in two big kiosks that included trash, recyclable, and compost bins.
Trash bins showed the most "inappropriate" content - most of which should have been in the composting bins - and Johnson says the recycling bins also contained a lot of waste that could have been composted.
The study concluded that improving that situation through more composting bins and better education wouldn't just help the planet, it would save the UW significant money since disposing of trash costs $90 per ton more than compost.