Designing a better bin: Campus upgrading trash and recycling receptacles

SUNY New Paltz is rolling out a new set of Mixed Recycling and Landfall bins inside all campus buildings this fall, in a move that Facilities Management staff believe will reduce costs and the College’s environmental footprint.

“One of the best ways to reduce waste and increase recycling on a college campus is to clearly communicate how individuals can do their part,” said Campus Sustainability Coordinator Lisa Mitten. “It may not be obvious to the naked eye, but everything about our new containers is designed to make it easy for us to make good decisions about what we throw away.”

Two containers – one blue, for Mixed Recycling, and one black, for Landfill – will be stationed together in buildings across campus, with clear labeling for what can be recycled (glass and plastic bottles, aluminum cans and paper products can all be placed in the same receptacle).

The bins will also help the College achieve long term cost savings. They are standardized across all campus buildings, and sized to fit regulation disposal bags that are less expensive than those previously in use.

And with better communication comes better distribution of disposed material. Every time a student, faculty or staff member puts a recyclable in the correct bin, the campus saves a little bit on the cost of moving trash. New Paltz garbage is eventually hauled to the Seneca Meadows Landfill near Waterloo, N.Y., about 250 miles away from campus. Diverting material from the Landfill bin can create major benefits, both in terms of the College’s environmental impact and the budget’s bottom line.

Not bad for a tale of two trash bins.

Click here to learn more about Sustainability at SUNY New Paltz.