Picking up the trash with UNO's Green Team

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Americans recycle less than 22 percent of their trash according to a recent Yale University study but a group of UNO students hopes to encourage those numbers to change.

Bag after bag, these students put on their gloves and dig through trash at Mammel Hall.

Monica Bosiljevac is a graduate student and explains what they're looking for in the garbage.

"We're actually going to sort through, get down and dirty and see what has been placed in our trash that should have been recycled and vice versa and how effectively we're compiling our trash here."

Every month the "Green Team" at the business school goes through the building's trash but they did their waste sort a week early to commemorate Earth week.

"The impact that we as individuals have now does affect the people of the future.", explains Monica.

The outreach goes beyond just Mammel Hall.

Lily Pitts is an elementary education student who wanted to help make UNO a more environmentally friendly campus.

"If people see that college students like myself are out here this early making a difference then it might help them make a difference too, like encourage other people to get out there and do something better for the world and the environment."

Students say a little goes a long way, that integrating recycling habits doesn't come overnight. It's the small changes that makes a huge difference.

"It can have a lasting impact on different ecosystems, different environments, different people out there in the community."

Though the trash digging isn't all it's cracked up to be, it's these habits now that will be used to benefit our communities in the long run.

"It can have a giant ripple effect overall."

Since one big reason why people don't recycle is confusion, the university simplifies the process with labels on trash cans.

The students are hopeful their actions today can lead to more positive changes within UNO to become more conscious about the environment.