Skidaway Island, Ga. – The effort to make Skidaway Marine Science Day a ‘landfill-free’ event was largely successful, according to event organizers. Held on the campus of the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, the annual open house attracted nearly 2,000 visitors on Saturday, Oct. 26, but generated only nine pounds of unrecyclable trash. The event organizers used recycling and composting bins to collect and recycle materials in an attempt to reduce the stream of trash ultimately headed to a landfill.
The event was sponsored by the UGA Aquarium and UGA Shellfish Laboratory, which are both part of Marine Extension, a public service and outreach unit of UGA, and by the UGA Skidaway Institute, Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary and the Nature Conservancy.
When the event was over, 57 pounds of recyclable paper, mostly napkins and hot dog wrappers, and 35 pounds of cans and plastic were collected. The compost containers held 10 pounds of food waste.
“One lesson we learned is that chip bags are not recyclable, and we collected one and a half pounds of them,” said The Nature Conservancy’s Amanda Wrona, one of the organizers. “That’s a 50-gallon trash bag of chip bags.”
The rest of the non-recyclable waste was composed of material such as duct tape, pipe cleaners, cigarette butts, garbage bags and diapers.
“About 92 percent of the waste generated at the event was kept out of the landfill,” said Wrona. “I think that is something we should all feel good about.”