Mismatched recycling bins from across campus found new homes just in time for the holidays. The displaced bins — a result of the transition to a new recycling bin standard on campus — were donated to schools across the county, as well as to local churches and homeless shelters.
After a successful pilot program in Greene Hall last spring, university staff members have embarked on a process of switching the bins over to the new standard in several buildings, including ZSR Library and Benson University Center.
The various mismatched bins placed around campus throughout the university’s 15 year recycling program are being phased out in favor of consistency and functionality. The new recycling standard is color-coded and designed for ease of use. Green bins with round holes in the top indicate cans and bottles, grey-beige bins with slits at the top are for mixed paper and black bins with wide openings are designed for landfill waste.
“The old black pushcarts looked too much like trash carts. The new design makes it clear to the user which waste streams go into which bins,” said Dedee DeLongpre Johnston, director of sustainability.
The transition to the new bins follows for the roll-out of the OS1 cleaning program. As custodial teams are trained in the new system and cleaning closets are renovated into supply pantries, the buildings also receive the new recycling bins.
This standardization has already resulted in the displacement of well over 100 recycling containers according to Megan Anderson, the university’s new Waste Reduction and Recycling Manager. All of the old black pushcarts, which made up a majority of the displaced bins, have been or are being retrofitted to serve a new purpose – can and bottle recycling collection at athletic events. Rather than disposing of the remainder of the stationary bins, the Office of Sustainability issued a call for new homes in December and received an overwhelmingly positive response.
.“Our mission is to reuse and recycle and we need to perpetuate that mentality. It would be a tragedy to waste the recycling containers,” Anderson said. “These bins are helping community groups get their feet wet with recycling when they might not have had the resources otherwise.”
“We still have requests we have not been able to fill, but we expect more bins from future building transitions,” she said. Organizations interested in starting their own recycling programs should contact Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336.758.4255 to be placed on the waiting list for bins.
By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern