Residence Halls Go Green With Garbage

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AMES, Iowa— The Iowa State University Department of Residence is helping the university fulfill two missions with just one initiative. As a way to both “Keep Iowa State Beautiful” and “Live Green,” the Department of Residence will soon add a total of 30 solar trash compactors to areas outside the residence halls and on campus apartments.

“The pilot installation of solar powered compactors on campus by our colleagues in Facilities Planning & Management has clearly demonstrated a great return, and we’re very excited to build on an already successful initiative,” said Pete Englin, Director of the Department of Residence. “We’ve learned that replacing trash receptacles with BigBelly compactors saves money, time, and encourages proper disposal of waste. Our interest in expanding this program around on campus living locations was shared with our student leaders and they were very much in favor.”

Iowa State University installed the first BigBelly solar trash compactor in the state of Iowa in 2009. The reviews for the device were so high that the university ordered 11 additional compactors in 2010. The move has saved the university time and money as the compactors need to be emptied just once per week by ISU Facilities, Planning, and Management (FP&M) staff as opposed to traditional trash receptacles, which are emptied once per day.

“BigBelly compactors have been a good addition for our trash management,” said Les Lawson, manager of campus services. “They have reduced our tipping frequencies, kept animals out of the trash, and best of all, students like to see and use them.”

Each compactor is equipped with a CLEAN wireless monitoring system that notifies FP&M staff when the compactors are ready to be emptied. According to an analysis compiled by Waste Management, the Big Belly compactors pay for themselves in roughly two and a half years through reduced labor and fuel costs.

The Department of Residence purchased 30 BigBelly solar trash compactors and has chosen 23 locations for placement. The remaining seven compactor locations are yet to be determined. If you have an idea for a location, email housing@iastate.edu, send us a message on our Facebook page (ISUDOR), or tweet us (@isudor).

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