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Single Stream Recycling

Single Stream Recycling at Fitchburg State University began in January 2008. Since the start of the program, more than 689 tons of post-consumer waste has been diverted from landfills! This is about 25% of campus trash output. This effort helps reduce our carbon footprint.

Single stream recycling is truly recycling made simple. All types of recyclable material can be deposited into a single blue bin. These bins are placed all around campus. Every classroom, office, and lounge now has a smaller blue recycling bin and a trash receptacle. Residence halls received their bins in the fall of 2008. Different style event barrels for recycling are used at outside events.

To encourage use, informative posters are placed at strategic locations around campus to remind people what is recyclable (Single Stream Recycling guide (PDF)). Many materials are recyclable but some, including Styrofoam and any containers with food waste, are not.

Once the mixed materials are in the can, university maintainers dump the contents of the entire small bin into larger hauling totes. These totes are emptied by a lifting truck into a large compactor.

The campus carbon footprint and trash disposal expense are reduced through this process. Fewer trucks need to come on campus to haul waste away. Until December 2007, dumpsters at each building were emptied daily. Now, with recycling and trash compacting, a truck empties the centralized trash compactors weekly and the recycling compactor once every two weeks.

Big Belly Solar Trash Compactor

The pilot installation of a Big Belly Solar Trash Compactor was completed in Summer 2009. The compactor is located on North Street outside the Bistro. The Big Belly is a trash bin with a solar-powered compactor. The 32-gallon Big Belly holds 150 to 200 gallons of trash and automatically compacts the trash when the bin is full. There is also an attached unit for collection of recyclables (including cans, bottles, paper, and plastic). The introduction of the Big Belly helps Fitchburg State make a small step toward reducing its carbon footprint by requiring fewer trash pick-ups by the Grounds Staff, reducing visits from several times daily to once or twice a week and resulting in less gasoline emissions. Staff attention has also been redirected to other critical activities!

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