Students and staff members emptied two trash bins onto the Lawn on Nov. 15, but it wasn’t an act of vandalism, or even a protest. The idea was to demonstrate how much of what was thrown out could have been recycled—in this case, about half, including a cell phone charger, part of a drain trap and plastic planters. “The worst part was a pile of leaves,” which are easily composted, says Lindsay Daniels, an employee of the University’s recycling division (recycle.virginia.edu) and director of the student group Conservation Advocates. Landfilling its garbage costs the University about $66 a ton, while recycling costs about $45 a ton.
The reasons, however, might not be entirely economic.