Students get up close and personal with garbage - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Students get up close and personal with garbage

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MOSINEE (WAOW) -

These Mosinee High School students got a lesson outside the classroom and inside a three ton pile of garbage.

"It's a lot of squishy things, moldy things... it's probably good that its wet today so we don't know what's supposed to be wet and what's not," Mosinee High School senior Bridgette Walters said.

Student volunteers, city leaders, and members of the recycling and waste management company, IROW, sorted through hundreds of bags of trash collected throughout the city. The idea was to find out how much garbage Mosinee residents throw out that could be recycled.

"There were a lot of things, a lot of weird things," Senior Emily Babcock said.

Things like sock puppets, clothing and un-opened bags of food.

"Coming from a garbage guy's stand point we're not surprised when we see a bag of moldy bread or old food someone threw out," IROW owner Cory Tomczyk said.

Alarmingly, these trash bags make up just half of one neighborhood route. The city runs two routes every day.

"Taxpayers pay for waste disposal," Tomczyk said. "So, if there's things that they can take out of the waste stream that they're paying to put into the ground, why not divert."

He goes on to say if residents could divert just 10% more of their waste into recycling, the city could save almost $4,000 per year.

"The average resident doesn't have a good understand of what waste really looks like," Tomczyk said.

But, now these students do. And hope to share the lessons they've learned with the community.

"There are things you just wonder why people throw it away, because they're too lazy to go and dispose of it properly," Walters said.

Every volunteer wore protective gear such as a suit, gloves and eye wear. Waste management leaders say out of the three tons of trash they sorted through about 20% was recycled.

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