Patrons of the Blue Wall eatery in the Campus Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have new options for composting and recycling with the introduction of three shiny new stainless steel units designed to make it easier than ever to promote sustainability on campus.
This month, new custom-made bins from Envyrozone of Toronto, Canada, were installed to promote recycling and composting. They feature pictures and clear signage to help customers quickly and easily dispose of food waste, compostable plates, cutlery, straws and cups in the compost while recycling cans and bottles and sending a few remaining plastic items to the trash.
Ezra Small,Campus Sustainability Manager with Physical Plant, said student workers and cashiers will direct patrons to help them dispose of their compostables, recyclables and trash properly for a few weeks as the new bin system is rolled out. An estimated 7,000 people eat at the Blue Wall on its busiest days.
Senior Jessica Ryter of Sharon, a political science major and waste reduction intern for the Campus Sustainability Initiative worked in collaboration with UMass Amherst Dining Services to bring the Envirozone systems to campus. She hopes that soon the trash bins will be mostly empty. It was Ryter who organized the campus’s national award-winning "Game Day Challenge" effort to reduce waste and increase recycling at the Minuteman football team’s last home game of the season.
Van Sullivan, manager of the Blue Wall for Dining Services, explains that currently about 75 50-lb. bags of waste leave the Campus Center every day and only 15 of those would be compostable while 60 went to the landfill. With new compostable trash bags, the new bin system and customer cooperation, the sustainability team hopes to at least double the amount of composted and recycled material to 30 or even 50 bags daily.
Sullivan and Small credit Ken Toong, Executive Director of Auxiliary Services and Enterprises, Meredith Schmidt, manager of the Campus Center, Pat Daly and Pam Monn from Physical Plant and other campus administrators and sustainability volunteers and staff with making this project a reality. Plans are to expand the new bin system to The Hatch, the concourse, Marketplace and other locations in the Campus Center soon.
Click the link below to watch the ABC40 coverage of the project as featured on March 5, 2012.