Compactors keep campus clean and green
UH’s effort to be environmentally friendly has increased again this year with the addition of more solar-powered recycling systems on campus.
The University has replaced its old recycling bins with new recycling compactors that use solar power to make the process for discarding waste much easier. As of this semester, there are 80 dual recycling receptacles and solar-powered trash compactors around campus that collect plastic, aluminum and paper.
The compactors work side-by-side, using power from the sun to collect the waste and crush it to make room for more. Once a unit is full and ready to be emptied, a sensor will send a signal to the Recycling and Solid Waste staff at Plant Operations.
Michael Burriello, assistant director of facilities management, said in a UH press release that the system does not only improve efficiency in waste collection on campus, but does much more.
“These new units will reduce UH’s carbon footprint,” Burriello said. “By not sending our trucks to collect trash from each unit every day, we save on gas and create less emissions. And by having more recycling receptacles, the campus community can do its part in helping the environment.”
Burriello also said that although some old, brown recycling canisters still remain on campus, they will eventually become extinct. The goal, he said, is to replace every five old canisters with one new solar-powered compactor.
“This transition will benefit the campus in many ways, not just by saving costs but also by teaching the students how important solar power is,” said geology senior Nina Vysotskaya.
“I think it’s a step forward for UH. It’s important for universities to be eco-friendly because they produce a ton of waste and influence communities. When a university practices clean waste management, it can be symbolic for an entire city.”
This new, easy way to recycle is not the only green addition that the UH community can enjoy. Students, faculty, and staff can now reduce the number of plastic water bottles they buy, bring and throw away on campus by using one of the filtered water-filling stations around campus.
Twenty-one filling stations have been installed in classroom buildings, with 16 more on the way. Buriello said that there have already been 32,136 refills made so far, which has kept that many bottles out of the campus waste stream.
“I use the filtered water stations a lot and I appreciate that there is already one in the building where I work, too,” said Diana Krupnik, a post-bachelor geology student. “Also, the filling stations have a much better taste than unfiltered water.”
UH has made many changes to support an eco-friendly lifestyle for the campus, such as trayless dining halls; a community garden; the UH Central Plant’s partially solar powered offices and enhanced chillers; and boilers and cooling towers that provide more efficient cooling and heating to campus buildings. Because of its constant efforts to go green, UH has earned a spot in the Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges 2013 Edition. The University has made this list every year since 2010.