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Waste Monitoring

Student Monitoring Logo 



We aim to confront and dissolve the stigma against interacting with and handling waste. We are committed to observing garbage, both through quantitative and qualitative methods, and sharing our findings with each other and with the other members of this campus, as a way of increasing the accountability of the students, faculty, and staff who rely on our waste system.

Resource Recovery

Every weekend student waste monitors find valuable resources in our waste streams. Visit the waste monitoring blog, updated weekly, to see photo documentation and written testimony of the usable items recovered from our waste streams throughout the term.


We observe landfill receptacles in residence halls every Saturday and Sunday morning, between 9am-12pm, to determine the degree to which landfill receptacles are "cross-contaminated" with recyclable and compostable waste items. Our data also provide insight as to which types of waste items constitute common contaminants, i.e. which types of compostable and recyclable waste items are most commonly placed in the landfill.

We are supported by the Carleton Custodial Services Department to conduct this research.

 You can learn more about our research methods and view our data by visiting our data page


The Trash Brothers-- Theo Morris from Carleton CAMS on Vimeo.

TRASHED from Theo Morris on Vimeo.




Visit the waste monitoring blog, updated weekly, to see photo documentation and written testimony of the usable items recovered from our waste streams throughout the term.


The comprehensive guide to composting and recycling at Carleton

The comprehensive waste guide has been posted in over 60 locations across campus, and distributed to over 600 students. See the link to view the guide and download it for printing. It is available in three different printable formats.


Waste-sorting games

Contact Jackson if you are interested in producing this game on your floor, or during an event.

We hosted our game at New Student Week Nolympics 2014, reaching close to 500 students during the event. We also host our game for RA programming.


Recycling and compost education

In our dynamic presentations, we concisely outline all the information that students need to successfully navigate the waste system at Carleton. Jackson has made presentations for the Bon Appetit student managers, for the RA All-Staff meeting, for the New Student Week Leaders, and other peer-leader groups. Contact Jackson at if you are interested in seeing a presentation.


Waste patrol

We implement strategies for reducing cross contamination at highly attended campus events, including Commencement, Spring Concert, and Rotblatt.



Q-tips, Andrew Woosnam

Andrew Woosnam '18 My name's Andrew T. Woosnam and I joined the Carleton Waste Monitors as a freshman in the Fall of 2014. I'm simultaneously disappointed and fascinated by the concept of trash waste; it strikes me as a completely unnecessary - yet an all to real - byproduct of a human population dangerously disconnected from the way Nature functions. I believe this disconnection, along with an upsettingly ubiquitous attitude of consumerist negligence, is the root of many issues we face today, both in our natural environment and in our own bodies and lives. I aim to help redefine our current misconceptions about and treatment of waste in hopes that one day we'll agree to replace our dumpsters with compost heaps, our manufacturing plants with edible plants, and our landfills with native marshes, grasslands, and forests.


Audrey Lothspeich '17 

Audrey Lothspeich '17 I'm really interested in conservation, especially how conservation can be integrated into the larger part of human activities not traditionally thought of as "conservationist." Human activities encompass a lot of things, including the garbage! By working with the student waste monitors, I hope to minimize the impact of human waste (and find some cool stuff).


Matt Maclay '18

 Matt Maclay '18 I'm Matt, a class of 2018er, drummer, and astronomer who's excited to meet people and learn more about the Carleton community. I am a firm believer that all of  Carleton can rise up and meet the challenge of being as green as possible, especially in terms of waste management. With a student body that is highly informed and up to date on issues, I have no doubt that we can set up a campus environment in which everyone contributes to a healthier planet, and doesn't have to work too hard to do so.


 Jackson Van Fleet

Jackson Vanfleet Brown '15 is interested in all that we can learn about ourselves, and the people in our community, by examining the things we throw away. The things we throw away say more about us than the things we choose to keep.


Peter Barron '17

Caitlin Gardner '16

Shilin Ma '18


Job Openings

We are looking for additional monitors and trash crew workers for Spring term 2015. Contact


Jackson Vanfleet Brown '15,