You like recycling? How Do You Like Dems RECYCLING?

Photo credit: Marie Yassa

The day has finally arrived. The mother of all recycling counters is now up and fully operational in the UCU Cafeteria. And if things work out the way they are supposed to, this could be a game changer for recycling on campus.

So let me give you a little insight as to how things used to be. The cafeteria use to house about 8 small recycling counters that were scattered around the space. There have been problems for years with contamination, and this was further compounded by the fact that the cafeteria is likely the single largest source of waste production on campus.

So what have we done to change the situation and make it better?

  1. All the bins are now centralized into one location with a MEGA counter. This helps concentrate our resources, requires fewer materials (bins), makes it easier for staff to clean up, and liberates more space in the caf.
  2. The counter has much larger bins that take more waste. This means that there will be less overflow.
  3. The system is more comprehensive and includes organics and plastics recycling.
  4. The counter has a detailed signage system that indicates to everyone what can and can't be recycled.
  5. The system is now in line with the rest of the campus (including colours, pictures, and look). And just like all the other recycling counters on campus, it is made out of FSC wood with non toxic adhesives.
  6. Extra spaces have been added for trays, dishware, and cutlery.
For the next couple of weeks we will be monitoring the recycling counters to make sure that there are no problems and that students understand how the system works. And we have had some volunteers standing in front of the bin helping students sort through their waste.

The hope is that by next year the whole system will be common place and everyone will be sorting things properly. There are still going to be some challenges and we would appreciate your help to make the system better.



donotresteasy said...

I know it would be a design challenge as far as accessibility and ease of use using the cupboard doors but here's my idea. As soon as I saw this it looks like you would want people to go down the line, starting at the left and drop everything off in the appropriate bin until there is nothing left but the tray at the end. Makes sense except imagine that the person is carrying their stuff (don't want to leave it unattended in the caf) and they only have one hand carrying the tray. There is nowhere to really place it while you sort that doesn't cover the openings. But if there was a spot to put your tray down to start and slide it along, it would be more user friendly.

jON said...

That's a really good idea! I am going to bounce the idea off our recycling coordinator and see what she says. The only concern I could see is if the rail interferes with the removal of the waste by the cleaning staff.

Thanks for the comment!