Sometimes great ideas come from stinky situations: For instance, behind a garbage truck. This is the origin of the new Bigbelly recycling machines on campus. Co-founder of the company, Jim Poss, was driving behind a garbage truck when he noticed fumes wafting from the truck. He saw the truck pick up garbage cans that were practically empty. His astonishment at the ineffectiveness would eventually cause him to transform a wasteful and inefficient industry into something sustainable and cost-effective.
TWU adopted these systems and began installing them in August. The machines are comprised of two bins; a compactor side and a recyclables side, which holds 150 and 50 gallons, respectively. They each contain a mini-computer, GPS, and solar panel.
Part of what makes these “trash cans” revolutionary, is the software they use. Marketing Communications Manager for Bigbelly Jenna McGrail explains: “The cornerstone of the whole system is an innovative software called CLEAN. It is a critical component that monitors the status of the system, logs info, and leverages data.” Because of the ability to check the status of the machines, the campus requests a pick-up only when they are full, which saves money and resources.
Director of Physical Plant Robert Ramirez explains this importance in TWU’s decision: “Saving money is always important, especially when considering how best to service the campus. Of course, the end goal is to provide an excellent service that meets the growing needs of our campus. If we can do that and find a way to not only be green, but save money in the process, then that is a win-win.”
Ramirez also states: “TWU has a strong commitment to recycling and sustainability that goes back many, many years.” You can find these new machines conveniently located throughout the TWU campus.