Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA) is among the ranks of college and university campuses making a meaningful, measurable impact with their Bigbelly smart waste and recycling system. LSU recently unveiled their successes in waste containment from last year after their smart system's install in January 2016. With a motivation to reduce waste collection costs and promote recycling to the student body and staff, the Office of Facility Services has championed their great success with system to date. Way to go, LSU community!
As we look back at 2016 and ahead into 2017, we reflect on and are inspired by our customer successes. We are excited to unveil the Top 25 Highest Recycling & Compost Diversion Ratios from College and University Deployments. Congratulations to each and every one of these college and universities! We could not be more proud to be a part of these organizations' success in achieving goals related to public space recycling diversion to create a more sustainable community for today and tomorrow.
1. University of California - Merced (CA , United States) - 69% of Waste was Diverted from the Landfill!
2. University of California - San Francisco (CA, United States)
3. University of Washington - Seattle (WA, United States)
4. University of California - Berkeley (CA, United States)
5. University of California - Santa Barbara (CA, United States)
As we look back at 2016 and ahead into 2017, we reflect on and are inspired by our customer successes. We are excited to unveil the Top 25 Highest Recycling & Compost Diversion Ratios from Smart City Deployments. Congratulations to each and every one of these cities, towns, parks and transit systems, business improvement districts, other public spaces for constituent enjoyment and their impacted communities! We could not be more proud to be a part of these municipalities' success in achieving goals related to public space recycling diversion to create a more sustainable community for today and tomorrow.
1. City of Santa Clarita, CA (United States) - 66% of Waste was Diverted from the Landfill!
2. City of Burlington, VT (United States)
3. Santa Clarita Transit, CA (United States)
4. City of San Diego, CA (United States)
5. City of Louisville, KY (United States)
Your town or city recently implemented a public space recycling program. After much planning, how will town officials know if it needs adjustment? If it is ready for expansion? If it is working as efficiently and effectively as planned?
Measurement of course will help to determine the program’s impact. The measurements extend well beyond knowing the location and number of recycling containers in public spaces. It requires data turned into information used by all parties involved – Department of Public Works, neighborhood or district improvement groups, waste and recycling haulers, and town and city officials.
Knowing how the overall program performs as well as metrics about the efficacy of each container helps demonstrate the program’s benefits and aids in strengthening community support.
What are public spaces? They are indoor/outdoor attraction centers, and highly visible commerce areas that have unique features that add to city livability. They are diverse and can be found in downtown areas, on the outskirts, or as a feature of a specific neighborhood. Wherever they are, they attract the public. When linked to city infrastructure, public spaces are promoted by tourism departments as valuable enhancements to the town: from transit hubs, airports, and recreation centers to parks, playgrounds, and sidewalks.
We have all been there at some point…stuck in our car behind a garbage truck as it makes frequent stops to collect waste and recycling. We see and smell the dark plumes of exhaust released from these loud, diesel-powered trucks. We might even wonder if there is a more environmentally friendly way to collect garbage.
Did you know it’s Plastic Free July? Have you taken the challenge to reduce the amount of plastic you use, specifically single-use plastic? If not, a few weeks remain in the challenge. However, there’s little reason to not continue to adopt changes for the long term. It’s an effort many cities would applaud!
Cities and towns worldwide are banning plastic – from plastic bags to single-use plastic and Styrofoam containers. The reasons vary from sustainability inaititives to cutting waste management costs. A recent example that you may have heard in the media was New York City's ban of expanded polystyrene foam which cannot be recycled and cause environemntal harm.
There’s a groundswell of effort focused on educating and raising awareness of the amount of single-use disposable plastic in daily life. Organizations like Plastic Free July are also challenging people to do something about it by simply reducing their use of single-use plastic. For many people, the first step – a rather easy one – is to avoid plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups, and straws.
Each year city leaders take on the task of balancing budgets while keeping a close eye on core city services. If there’s a deficit, one line item that might face reduced support is recycling-related efforts and programs. While they do require budget dollars to maintain, these recycling efforts also promise to save a city money (and environmental impact) in the end.
Recycling costs vary from one city to the next depending upon proximity to landfills, labor cost, real estate prices, and method of recycling. Despite varying financial benefits, there are many positive reasons both economically and environmentally to recycle.
When it comes to recyclable materials - aluminum, glass, plastic, and paper - some recycle more easily than others and their life spans are extraordinarily long. In all cases, recycling of these materials results in energy and natural resource savings.
Recycling organic products and materials reduces the accumulation of organics in the city. Think that ripe not so sweet smell wafting through city alleyways or trash bins...
By separating organics from landfill garbage, cities can recycle those nutrients to create a ‘fertilizer’ waste stream that can be used by urban victory gardeners and commercial farmers who grow larger scale volumes of produce. Urban public space composting embodies our favorite 3 R's - reduce, reuse, recycle. Some communities are creating public composting sites and offering organic waste bins on sidewalks and in parks to encourage organic waste recycling. In turn, this organic matter can be converted to commercial products while decreasing landfill waste and boosting the economic gain.
There’s a lot to be said about improving municipal recycling efforts. It helps to keep public spaces clean, eradicate pest problems, and provide measurable environmental benefits by waste diversion from landfills. Towns can also reduce tipping costs and other expenses related to waste disposal, and increase credits recycling incentive programs.
"Even in small cities, the returns from an efficient recycling program can have quite an impact," according to the EPA. Participation in urban recycling can be challenging but it’s often due in part to the programs in place. We know that city recycling programs need to appeal to a large and diverse population. Programs focused on increasing participating help to improve recycling rates. Below are a few interesting recycling stats from the EPA's latest national survey in 2009, as reported by our friends at Keep America Beautiful:
- Americans recovered 34% of waste generated in 2009.
- About 9,000 curbside residential recycling programs existed in the US that year.
- The 34% diverted waste equaled 82 million tons of recycled material.
- This national wide recycling behavior reduced CO2 emissions in a mass equal to removing 33 million passenger vehicles from the roads.
- The US recycling industry workforce is comprised of 1.1 million employees, generating over $236 billion in annual revenue.
- The recyclable materials left in the US landfill waste stream would have amounted to over $7 billion if properly recycled.
- There was 3 pounds of trash per person per day thrown away into the landfill waste stream; that is enough trash to circle the earth 24 times.