Campus & community, Campus news, People, Profiles, Research, Science & environment

Zero waste? Bin there, doing that

Thirteen custom-designed recycling bins, funded through the campus's major beverage contract, have been installed in campus buildings. It's hoped that the multi-stream bins, made from recycled milk jugs, will make it easier to do the right thing, and help UC Berkeley reach its zero-waste target.

recycling bins

Thirteen custom-designed recycling bins, funded through the campus’s major beverage contract, are now up and running in Barrows Hall, Hearst Gym, Anthony Hall and and other campus buildings.

recycling bin

Reaching UC’s 2020 zero-waste goal will take infrastructure (like this bin) to make it easier to do the right thing, say campus sustainability advocates.

The bins, each manufactured from 1,550 recycled plastic milk jugs, were funded by the $15,000 annually that PepsiCo, in a 10-year contract signed in 2010, agreed to contribute to campus sustainability projects. The contract sets terms for the purchase of bottled beverages by the UC Berkeley Beverage Alliance, made up of Cal Dining, Residential and Student Service Programs, Cal Athletics, ASUC Auxiliary and Recreational Sports.

Representatives of the Office of Sustainability, The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) and Campus Recycling and Refuse Services decided to use the first two years of funds for campus education and outreach and for standardizing interior and exterior recycling-collection bins.

The new bins were designed in collaboration with the manufacturer Max-R, with close attention to signage and color-coding of different waste streams – green for compost, blue for recycling, black for landfill, says TGIF coordinator Katherine Walsh.

The University of California system has set a goal of “zero waste” by 2020. “To even consider reaching zero waste as a campus, we have to have the right infrastructure,” Walsh says. While the Max-R bins have a “landfill” slot, it’s hoped that eventually “everything will go to compost or recycling. That’s our ultimate goal. This is a key stepping stone.”

Two of the new Max-R bins are installed at Anna Head Alumnae Hall. Vivi Nordal, assistant director of events for ASUC Auxiliary, gives the units a thumbs-up, saying they are “easy for our guests to use” and “contribute to our goal of having zero-waste events.”

In addition to the 13 bins paid for with funds from the beverage contract, several campus organizations, including Cal Dining, have ordered the custom-designed units independently, adding their own logo to the headboard, says Walsh.

Related information: