Pilot recycling system rolls-out further

18 July 2008

More buildings across the University are to trial an innovative recycling system which sees personal rubbish bins scrapped in favour of small black cubes. The cubes fit a minimal amount of non-recyclable rubbish and sit on top of desks.

The Business School has been using the cube system since the new Owen G Glenn building opened at the start of this year.

The University's Environmental Coordinator Dr Lesley Stone says the pilot recycling system worked well at the Business School and other faculties and departments are keen to adopt it.

"Reducing waste is a priority for the University. Last year, our rubbish filled enough wheelie bins to reach all the way from the University to the airport and most of the way back," Dr Stone says.

The new system works by encouraging staff to take responsibility for their own waste. Each staff member is provided with a white desk-top tray for paper, and a black desk-top cube for non-recyclable rubbish. A blue crate is placed in all kitchen areas for bottles and cans. Staff members are responsible for emptying their desk-top bins when they become full.

Waste from public and student spaces in the University are a major contributor to the University’s environmental impact and will also be focused on.

The Owen G Glenn building will be the site of an important trial in Semester Two testing six different designs of rubbish and recycling bins.

"This will build on the pilots we ran last year in the student quad which told us that bin design and placement has a big impact on whether they are used, and used properly," Dr Stone says. One of the key findings was that rubbish and recycling bins must always be placed in pairs.

The six pairs of rubbish and recycling bins vary in size, ease of use and serviceability for cleaning staff. Over the first month of the semester Dr Stone will evaluate factors such as frequency of use, contamination in the bins, and feedback from students, cleaning staff and any staff managing the areas in which they are placed. The most effective bins will be incorporated into a proposal for a staged roll-out across the University.