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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 10, 2009

College of Public Health students take up-close look at garbage

Some environmentally conscious students in the University of Iowa College of Public Health will be taking an up-close review of what the college contributes to the landfill.

The ECO (Easy Change Overall) Hawks, a public health student group, will perform a baseline audit of a portion of the college of public health's waste stream from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Nov. 12, at the Institute for Rural and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa Research Park.

"The waste sort is a good first project for our group," said Ryan Landi, president of ECO Hawk and a first-year graduate student in the master of public health degree program. "Most students involved in this waste sort won't be around when the college moves into its new facility in 2011, but we wanted to give the college a start on its recycling plans."

The idea for the newly formed ECO Hawk group grew from a handful of public health students interested in reducing landfill waste and increasing recycling. Faculty and staff of the college of public health are invited to join in the waste evaluation with an eye on reducing the college's environmental footprint.

"This is a good education tool, helping increase awareness among faculty and staff about the amount of waste we generate," said Peter Thorne, UI professor of occupational and environmental health. "It's a chance to learn what we can do to reduce our impact on the environment and landfill."

The audit is being held in cooperation with the UI Office of Sustainability, City of Iowa City, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, City Carton Recycling, East Central Iowa Council of Governments, UI Facilities Management. Teams of volunteers wearing protective gear will work together to examine the composition of the college's waste stream and provide baseline data needed to plan future recycling and reduction efforts.

This is the fourth waste sort the UI has organized to help raise awareness and find ways to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill.  Previous sorts have been done for the UI Libraries, college of dentistry, and the Tippie College of Business.

For more information or to volunteer to participate in the waste characterization study, contact Dan McMillan, 319-335-6835 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Dan McMillan, College of Public Health, 319-335-6835,; Desire Christensen, ECO Hawk vice president, 319-594-1065,, Amy Myers, Office of Sustainability, 319-384-3240,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,