The Smart Waste & Recycling Solution

Project Description

MIT’s Bigbelly System Makes Waste Collection Smarter


Prior to Bigbelly’s arrival on campus, MIT faced three specific issues with their collection operations. “The University had 130 trash cans on campus and limited recycling. We spent 6 hours per day collecting trash and had no visibility into the operations” said Jarrod Jones, Recycling and Solid Waste Supervisor at MIT. Additionally, MIT had a problem with rats getting into the conventional trash cans and creating litter. The combination of these problems forced the University to consider a move away from “traditional” cans towards a smarter solution.

The Bigbelly Solution

MIT chose to install 90 Bigbelly stations, 46 trash compactors and 44 single stream recycling stations placed throughout their campus replacing 120 conventional trash cans. They use the CLEAN management console to monitor station fullness and develop collection schedules on a daily basis.  Bigbelly works with MIT on a quarterly basis to review their operations, make recommended upgrades and station deployment to enable them to continuously improve their operations.

When asked, Jones said “the University has clear environmental goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase recycling and improve the landscape quality and environment of the campus and find a way to measure the results.” CLEAN has helped MIT meet their goals by providing the visibility to eliminate overflowing bins and unnecessary collections and delivering easy-to-share analytics.

The Results

Since the first Bigbelly stations arrived on campus in 2010, the University has seen numerous benefits. As the team has become more familiar with the system and the CLEAN Management Console, results have become more impressive.

  • Reduced time for collections (staff hours) from 6 hours per day to less than 30 minutes per day.
  • Enabled specific measurements to support MIT sustainability goals and reinforced message of sustainability and focus on improving the campus.
  • Decreased pest issues in waste and recycling.
  • Introduced public space recycling to campus.

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