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Wildcats see the impact of what they throw away

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Bonnie Christiansen, Academic Sustainability Coordinator for Weber State University’s Sustainability Practices & Research Center, speaks to a student at Waste Fair on Thursday, Mar. 3 in the Shepherd Union. (Emily Crooks / The Signpost)

On March 3, Weber State University’s Sustainability Practices and Research Center organized and held a waste fair in the Shepherd Union in order to raise awareness about waste.

Beverly Brewer, the organizer of the waste fair, said one of the main goals of the fair was to educate students about the issues surrounding waste and the proper ways to dispose of it.

The fair included disposal sites for various types of waste as well as booths to help educate students, staff and faculty on proper recycling methods.

Brewer said the way people dispose of trash has a large impact on health, the environment and that not just anything can be thrown away into the landfills.

“Instead of straight into the landfills or straight to the garbage, there are different channels that you can sort them out into, so the resources can be reclaimed and the environmental impact reduced,” Brewer said.

When waste such as medications, electronic devices and hazardous material are not disposed of properly, it adversely affects the environment.

Summer Day and Michela Gladwell were at the waste fair as representatives of The Weber Morgan Health Department. Day and Gladwell were there to collect old over-the-counter and prescription drugs in order to prevent them from being thrown away or flushed, keeping them out of the water stream.

Day explained that prescription and over-the-counter drugs are sometimes flushed down the toilet, which then takes them to water treatment plants. These treatment plants are not designed to clean and check for pharmaceutical byproducts, so these medications end up back in the water streams.

Electronic devices that are not disposed of in the correct way can also have a negative impact on the environment. Math Booth, a Utah State University graduate student and expert on electronics waste, attended the fair.

Booth said recycling and waste habits are an “If you know better, you’d do better” situation.

“I am just trying to educate people,” Booth said.

Booth told students that there are many things that can be recycled from electronics, and there are things taken apart of electronics that do not belong in the landfills.

“The biggest problem is that people don’t know it is a problem when recycling electronics with other items,” Booth said.

For more information on where and how to recycle, visit the Weber State University Sustainability Practices and Research Center website.

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