Case Study: University of California San Diego
Solving Staffing Shortages
While the solution provides a number of benefits, what piqued the interest of the University of California-San Diego was being able to directly address their staffing shortages by realizing labor savings.
The campus initiative was led by Chuck Morgan, Assistant Director of Facilities Management, and assisted by Alonso N. Noble, Assistant Superintendent and Waste Manager, Landscape Services, Facilities Management. His department is responsible for landscape maintenance and waste management for the entire campus and parts of the university’s two medical centers.
The University’s initially deployed 25 Bigbelly Duo Stations, each featuring a solar compactor for trash and single stream recycling, in the two busiest areas of campus for pedestrian traffic and events. The University had a lengthy set of success criteria for this initial phase:
- No unsightly overflows
- Eliminating problems with critters and birds attracted to trash
- Stopping the pilferage problem
- Increasing diversion of recyclables
- Eliminating incidents of injury from removing heavy bags
- Aesthetically pleasing and complement the campus hardscape
- Freeing up waste and recycling collection staff time for other tasks
“These units were expected to eliminate inefficiency in waste and recycling collection, and support the sustainable efforts of the university,” Noble said.
This initial deployment achieved the desired results. While some questioned the costs, Noble said “the employees affected conceded that the units saved them time and were easier to service.”
“It is a good option for those challenged with staffing shortages who want to streamline their operation to become more efficient and sustainable.” The staff was also surprised at how light the compacted contents were. “Bigbelly may actually reduce the potential for work-related injury because the bags are lighter than the traditional cans when full and overflowing,” Noble added.
“They are a good investment with a quick ROI,” he said. “It is a good option for those challenged with staffing shortages who want to streamline their operation to become more efficient and sustainable.”
The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as a result of less frequent service trips was another unexpected benefit. With the initial phase ruled a success, the University opted to expand their deployment, with an additional 26 stations being deployed across campus. And while the initial phase was funded solely from the Facilities Department funds, both Housing, Dining and Hospitality and Academic Affairs contributed dollars to the second phase.
Noble happily recommends the Bigbelly solution to other colleges and universities.