The Art of Trash at Cal State San Marcos

Bigbelly’s smart waste and recycling bins offer a unique and very visible opportunity to display artwork to enhance community aesthetics and impress a sense of appreciation for creativity. Bins are customizable with full graphic wraps (check out this group of local artists in Philadelphia that recently overtook commercial bin advertising to display a variety of works of art) or message panels on the sides for a bit more flexibility.

Campuses and communities use message panels as a communication vehicle to share information about anything from what’s accepted in each waste stream to upcoming events and public service announcements. We recently heard about a group at Cal State San Marco that worked in partnership with the university’s Energy Management and Utility Services department with the goal of “Bringing Students Together in the Name of Art“.

Read on for the story from the Cal State San Marcos Newsroom about an art student on campus is leveraging the campus’ Bigbelly units as a platform to create a public space exhibition and spread her love of art:


Iris Lee, […] a visual and performing arts major at Cal State San Marcos, […] founded a student organization called the Staircase Exhibition, which aims to bring together visual artists and the artistically curious. Staircase Exhibition’s visibility on campus has grown this fall through a collaboration with Energy Management and Utility Services (EMUS).


Cal State San Marcos student Iris Lee, founder of the student organization Staircase Exhibition,
collaborated with Energy Management and Utility Services to provide artwork for the Bigbelly
trash cans and recycling bins throughout campus.  
Photo by Christine Vaughan


Iris had noticed that the posters adorning the sides of the Bigbelly trash cans and recycling bins throughout campus looked a bit outdated. After asking around to find out who she could contact about providing updated artwork for the bins, she was eventually directed to Stephanie Hebert, the University’s recycling and sustainability coordinator in EMUS.

Iris worked with Hebert to ensure that her artwork followed guidelines and regulations, and new posters greeted students as they returned to campus this fall. “I have a lot of design projects, so I was very happy to have some help, especially from such a capable group,” Hebert said. “I have received such positive feedback about the designs and am really pleased at being able to showcase our students’ capabilities in support of our zero-waste program.”

Staircase Exhibition plans to update the posters every other month. A new design by student Daisy Camacho is expected to debut on the bins in October. “We want to have our student voice out there and help the campus become more interested in the arts,” Iris said.

Source: Cal State San Marco Newsroom, by Eric Breier



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