The Smart Waste & Recycling Solution

University of California Santa Barbara

Project Description

Case Study: University of California Santa Barbara

sitetop_ucsb

Capturing Compostables

For many universities and other environmentally conscious facilities, the move to compostable cutlery and packaging introduces a new set of challenges related to effectively and efficiently capturing those materials so they actually make it to the compost facilities. In order to meet these challenges, The University has made Bigbelly a key part of their compostables capture strategy.

“With the increase in demand for composting waste receptacles in combination with the increase in available compostable food serviceware, Bigbelly compacting units were a great way for us to introduce and upgrade our compost waste infrastructure,” said Matthew O’Carroll, Refuse & Recycling Intern. “UCSB has introduced Bigbelly composting units with great success.”

Exceeding ExpectationsUCSB

“By inspecting the waste of both open-top containers and the Bigbellys, we noticed that there was less contamination in the waste streams of the Bigbelly units.”

Bigbelly solutions were most attractive to UCSB because they reduced how frequently waste and recycling needed to be collected in their high traffic areas. The Bigbelly Stations were also successful at eliminating the pest-related issues that they were experiencing with their traditional bins.

“Upon deployment, stations met and exceeded our expectations. Our initial goals were to limit waste service cycles and reduce pest related issues with waste in the aforementioned areas; these goals were met. In addition, we also noticed a decrease in contamination among the waste streams, likely because the units require individuals to “interact” (open the hopper door) with them in order to dispose of waste,” O’Carroll said.

“By inspecting the waste of both open-top containers and the Bigbellys, we noticed that there was less contamination in the waste streams of the Bigbelly units.”

The stations were well received by all members of the campus community, including students and visitors who are pleased with their aesthetics. Additionally, because they’re able to spend less time servicing the waste receptacles, the collection staff can now focus their efforts on beautifying the campus.

Finally, with the increased capacity at each collection point, the University was able to remove the waste receptacles adjacent to the Bigbelly stations, ultimately reducing their waste footprint and benefiting campus aesthetics.

From the Outside In

When UCSB was deciding on where to deploy their Bigbelly Waste & Recycling Stations, they quickly identified their four satellite dining facilities as the ideal locations to begin their pilot. This determination was made primarily because their dining services were some of the biggest generators of landfill, recyclable, and compostable material.

The Bigbelly initiative has been led by Housing & Residential Services and Facilities Management, with both departments funding the refuse and recycling components, while UCSB’s The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provided funds for the compostable components.

The University plans to expand and fully equip other campus areas with the Bigbelly products, since they recognize that as the only way to realize the full labor savings potential of the solution. Some of those expansion areas will include other high traffic areas, as well as other areas on campus that have persistent pest issues or are remote.

Leveraging the Data

“CLEAN can help to identify trends in waste generation, compare waste volume between waste streams in an area, micro-manage the system in particular locations to meet the needs of the area.”
While the waste and recycling stations themselves have been successful reducing the economic and environmental costs associated with servicing conventional receptacles, O’Carroll believes no implementation is complete without fully embracing the solution’s software capabilities.

“CLEAN can help to identify trends in waste generation, compare waste volume between waste streams in an are, micro-manage the system in particular locations to meet the needs of the area, and overall to manage the Bigbelly units,” O’Carroll added.

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