No, nobody lost a term paper. The purple-latex-glove-wearing bunch sifting through a trash heap with hands and rakes on the freshman quad on April 4 were the Students for Environmental Action conducting the group's seventh annual effectiveness test of the Homewood recycling program.
Called the Dump on the Quad, the test uses a random sampling of the day's campus waste to estimate the amount of recyclable goods being disposed of improperly. The results, according to Patrick Moran, the university's recycling coordinator, showed that Hopkins has much room for improvement in capturing recyclable items.
Of the 804 pounds of waste examined that day, only 497 pounds were deemed actual trash. The sample contained 99 pounds of aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles; 24 pounds of cardboard; and 184 pounds of paper, the bulk of which was newsprint and used printer paper.
The waste came from academic, administration and student residential buildings.
Moran said the results are used to determine both the placement and number of recycling bins on campus, and if an enhanced marketing effort for the program is needed. Most of the recyclable items recovered on April 4 were salvageable, he said.
The Homewood recycling rate for 2001 was up 1 percent from the previous year, to 31 percent of all solid waste being recycled.