Lehigh University going green with new eco-friendly trash cans

Smart trash and recycle bins installed on campus

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh University is well known for its leadership in engineering, now the school is taking its signature style of innovative thinking and applying it to waste disposal. As students at Lehigh University make their way back to the classrooms this semester, they’ll notice some new trash cans around campus.

Gary Falasca, Director of Custodial Grounds & Athletic Facilities at Lehigh University

“We’re trying to be leaders,” said Gary Falasca, Director of Custodial Grounds & Athletic Facilities at Lehigh University. Falasca says the new Bigbelly trash and recycle bins are part of the University’s new waste management plan, cutting costs, greenhouse gas emissions and litter.

The trash cans are high-tech and solar powered with sensors.  When the sensors detect trash levels are too high, a plate compacts the waste down.  Once the bin is full, a red light will blink and trash collectors are notified through an app on their phones.

“We were picking the outdoor containers two to three times a day, we do these twice a week now on average,” Falasca said.

Each set comes with a trash and recycling bin, helping students and community members clearly identify what products can be reused. “We calculate that 70 percent of all of our waste could be recycled but we were only getting about 20 percent of that,” Falasca said. “When we use these we get over 50 percent.”

Falasca said the new trash cans will help keep campus as inviting as ever. “Because they’re closed, they’re not subject to weather so they don’t fill up with water, you won’t get blowing stuff out of it and the squirrels don’t get in and the birds don’t pick the stuff and drag it around,” Falasca said.

The university is removing more than 150 open top trash cans and replacing them with the eco-friendly fleet.

Source: WFMZ 69 News

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