BigBelly bins placed on campus to improve recycling and sustainability

The Office of Sustainability in collaboration with ASUCR and UCR’s Facilities Services recently ordered BigBelly waste bins to place in multiple locations on UCR’s campus, including the Bell Tower and various university parking lots.

The Office of Sustainability first attempted to bring BigBelly waste bins onto UCR’s campus a few years ago before it was disbanded. In an interview with the Highlander, Olenka Graham, the vice president of The Green Campus Action Plan (GCAP), stated that she began pushing for BigBelly bins to be placed on campus after first learning about the initiative and its failure to be implemented.

Graham said that Gerry Bomotti, the chief financial officer and vice chancellor for planning and budget, was rebuilding the Office of Sustainability and also interested in bringing BigBelly bins onto UCR’s campus. Graham claimed that once the Office of Sustainability was up and running with its own budget, the Sustainability Officer, Fortino Morales, worked with Facilities Services to order the bins and place them onto UCR’s campus.

Graham believes that BigBelly bins “greatly improve recycling on college campuses.” She believes that the bins assist with recycling on UCR’s campus because they contain waste which prevents overflows, visible waste, windblown litter, and critter access. The bins, according to Graham, also hold more trash than normal waste bins; she wrote that BigBelly bins have a compactor in them that allows them to hold five times as much as a traditional bin.

They also have automated real-time collection notification which allows for more streamlined routes and less wasted time checking on bins that are not yet full, which saves Facilities Services a lot of time, according to Graham. Graham stated, “This feature also gives us much better analytics and reporting of the recycling volume and route times. They are also much more aesthetically pleasing (mainly because of the total waste containment) and help us in having a more uniform recycling program.” The bins also have a foot-operated pedal that can be used to open them in case, “your hands are full or you just don’t want touch the handle,” stated Graham.  

The Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services are monitoring the impact of the BigBelly bins and if they are as successful as they imagined them to be, they will be purchasing more to place around campus.

The Office of Sustainability ordered two BigBelly bins to place by the bell tower and Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) ordered, “one or two of their own for LOT 30,” however, Graham is unsure of the exact quantity that TAPS ordered. The locations were determined by the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services. Graham stated that the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services went for high volume locations to begin this initiative. Graham stated that GCAP, the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services hope to place more BigBelly bins in more secluded locations such as the Botanical Gardens in the future in order to continue improving sustainability and collection routes on UCR’s campus.

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