Daniel Arizaga paused outside of the HUB Monday night and stood beside a pair of trash and recycling cans.
The UF nuclear engineering senior studied the two white signs framed by PVC pipe fixtures. One sign had an image of a landfill piled high with trash, with two sentences above it.
“Your cans and bottles will be sitting in a landfill 5 times longer than your life expectancy,” it read. “Think before you throw.”
Arizaga said he wondered about the signs message and what it wanted to convey.
“The question is why,” the 22-year-old said after reading the sign. “I guess trying to go more green… more than UF already is.”
Arizaga was not alone in his curiosity. Across campus on Monday, the pair of signs hovered over 10 trash and recycling cans, impossible to ignore. Those intrigued enough to glance at the small sticker on the poster’s other side learned that the set-ups are for a student research project led by UF/IFAS first-year PhD student Amanda Brinton in the School of Natural Resources and Environment.
The 31-year-old, along with two research assistants, placed the signs around campus 1 a.m. on Monday because they are interested in people’s consumption and waste-disposal habits, she said.
Brinton said she expects people throwing trash away will at least pause and reconsider what it is they’re tossing.
“You’re giving that trash can your attention for roughly five to 10 seconds,” Brinton said. “Why not actually make it educational and informative?”
The second sign, in big, bold letters, declared “Not Recyclable at UF.” Under it, a row of several plastic containers were tightly strung — a plastic Starbucks cup next to a plastic top; a styrofoam cup next to a plastic straw.
Brinton said she wanted to keep the details of the study, like data and research methods,secret until she reveals the results at the end of the semester.
Until then, the red plastic straws and clear cups will face the wondering eyes of passersby until April 20.