Canning the Old Garbage-Collecting System
In its newest efforts to go green and promote sustainability, the Robert H. Smith
School of Business is trashing its current system for collecting garbage and recycling
in Van Munching Hall, in favor of a more environmentally-friendly system.
A waste stream analysis conducted in 2009 showed that more than 25 percent of
all the “trash” coming from Van Munching Hall could be recycled. In addition, about
80 percent of all waste generated in individual offices is able to be recycled.
With the Can the Can program, the school hopes to capture a large portion of that
“Since a key focus of the Smith School is sustainability, we whole heartedly
endorse this effort. As such, this program will be implemented in Van Munching Hall
at the end of January,” said G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the Smith School.
The Can the Can program, which will begin implementation the week of Jan. 31
by Facilities Management, will replace the current trash-collecting method—instead
of having a large garbage receptacle in each office, “mini bins” will be used instead.
Mini bins are 6 inches tall, hold 1.5 liters of garbage, and are meant to sit
on individual desks. Each bin has a lid and the mantra “This is all the garbage
I make!” in white letters to remind users to create less waste. The mini bin program
was created by Midpoint International, Inc., a recycling solutions company.
Offices with both a recycle bin and a garbage can will lose the can, and offices
without a recycle bin will have their garbage can repurposed with a “Recycle” sticker.
All recycle bins will be used for single-stream recycling and will be emptied by
housekeeping twice a week. The mini bins, however, must be emptied by each individual
into larger garbage receptacles located nearby. These common area garbage cans will
be emptied daily.
“It’s a reversal on the way housekeeping operates today,” said Bill Guididas,
university recycling coordinator.
This program was piloted successfully in some buildings on the campus, such as
the Main Administration Building and the Chesapeake Building, and several other
colleges have signed on the program.
Lee Comstock, director of operations, said this program will be a good way to
get people to think about what they are throwing away.
“Right now, people throw away paper in their garbage cans, but paper isn’t really
trash. On the other hand, people are also throwing away food remnants after they
eat lunch at their desk. Lunch garbage doesn’t belong in an office garbage bin that
gets emptied twice a week—it belongs in the main community garbage can that gets
emptied daily,” Comstock explained. “This program will encourage people to analyze
what and where they are throwing away trash and recycling.”
Items that CAN be recycled
Items that CANNOT be recycled
Already, Comstock said he has received positive feedback about the program: “People
who are pushing sustainability say ‘go for it’ because it will get participants
to be more aware of how to be more environmentally friendly in their everyday lives.”
Jessica Bauer, writer and editor, Office of Marketing Communications