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Recycling study finds close to a ton of waste in Columbian Park

Lafayette is taking the initiative to go greener. For last couple of weeks, the city has been part of a recycling education program to try and reduce waste found at Columbian Park.

Posted: Jul 16, 2018 11:27 PM
Updated: Jul 16, 2018 11:42 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Lafayette is taking the initiative to go greener. For last couple of weeks, the city has been part of a recycling education program to try and reduce waste found at Columbian Park.

News 18 had the chance to get a closer look at the process and found out going green isn't always clean.

In an effort to reduce waste, Lafayette Parks and Recreation established a partnership with the Indiana Sustainable Development Program sponsored by Indiana University. IU student David Cullmer was assigned to Lafayette for ten weeks as an Indiana Sustainable Development Program intern.

Cullmer studies sustainability and now he's applying what he knows, so Lafayette can be greener.

"Certainly, parks and recreation are all about sustainability and being very green," said Lafayette Parks Superintendent Claudine Laufman. "And I knew that we had some challenges with our current recycling program so it seemed like a terrific fit."

One of Cullmer's first steps was to conduct a “waste sort” within Columbian Park.

"And so I was hired on to just kind of provide recommendations of the waste stream," said Cullmer.

For seven days, Cullmer took waste from the park dumpsters and sorted it into different categories to get an overall percentage of recyclables, trash and compostable material.

"This waste sort aspect of it, I scheduled for seven days in a row to try and capture the total waste that is generated within a week in this park," said Cullmer.

Cullmer found that 47 percent of the overall waste being thrown away in Columbian Park is recyclable.

Now, Cullmer is taking his findings and making recommendations to minimize waste generated on the parks across Lafayette.
"And what we'll do is we'll use that information as a spring board to really start focusing in on our own recycling program and how we actively get started," said Laufman.

"The goal is to make it easy within those two seconds to make it clear, make the signage easy to read, so they know what to recycle and what not to," said Cullmer.

In addition to the waste sort, Lafayette Parks and Recreation is asking people to fill out a survey that will help with the future recycling program in the city's parks.

You can find that survey below:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3F5YXD7?platform=hootsuite

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