Garbage at Whitman: How trashy are we?

Patricia Vanderbilt

Whitman delivered a total of 314,280 pounds of solid waste to the Walla Walla Sudbury Road Landfill in 2008. This number doesn’t tell the whole story, however. It includes the waste that Whitman collects from the academic buildings and residence halls and delivers to the landfill, but not the trash that Walla Walla’s sanitation services pick up from Reid Campus Center, the dining halls and the interest houses. There is also waste generated from construction and set striking at Harper Joy Theatre, not to mention garbage from fraternities and off-campus housing.

Walla Walla city's landfill. Built in the 70's, the current landfill cell is in year three of its 10 year lifespan. Photo Credit: Kendra Klag

“That’s part of the story too,” said Bob Biles, Whitman’s landscape specialist and recycling coordinator. “It’s really difficult to keep track of all that stuff.”

Garbage generation spikes at the beginning and end of the school year. In the month of September about 70,000 pounds of trash are collected, up from an average of 50,000 pounds from October through April. Moving-out and graduation spur a refuse upsurge in May.

“It’s a two-week party clean-up,” Biles said, and added that the high school debate tournament is another big trash weekend.

“Let me tell you, there’s a bunch of trash after that deal,” he said.

Overall rough estimate?

“Whitman generates about a million pounds of refuse per year,” said Biles.

Photo Credit: Kendra Klag