A helpful start in the development of a compost program is holding a trash sort. University of Washington Recycling hosted its inaugural sort — known as the “World’s First Trash-In” — on February 26, 1970. The department’s next trash sort was held in 2011 in order to examine how the contents of trash had changed.

A trash sort is a great tool for awareness, and for finding what gaps exist in education, outreach and/or infrastructure. A more formal version of a sort is commissioning a waste characterization study, which UW carried out in 1989 and again in 2003. The latter confirmed that the majority of campus waste was recyclable and compostable, yet it was all going directly to the landfill. This proved the need to strategically advance the recycling and composting program.

To launch a trash sort, seek support from any existing environmental and sustainability-related departments or leaders within the organization. Managers can also collaborate with like-minded members from administration, or with a local compost vendor.

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Launching A Composting Program