The Clark Building, home to numerous departments from the College of Liberal Arts, is known across campus as a confounding labyrinth that visibly shows its age. New high-tech additions, however, can now be found in the Clark A bathrooms: electronic trash cans that compact paper towel waste.
The bins, which are in place for a six-month trial period, are intended to reduce the number of times per day that workers must empty the bathroom trash cans in busy buildings.
According to CSU Facilities Operations Manager Sheela Backen, the bathroom trash cans in high-use buildings typically have to be emptied between four and six times each day. They hope that the new bins will last for a week before having to be emptied, due to the bins’ ability to compact its contents once it recognizes that it has reached a certain fullness.
According to Backen, only paper towels can currently be deposited in these bins, because harder objects could damage their internal mechanisms. After a week’s time, workers can collect a 10-pound cube of paper towel waste from each bin that is ready for recycling.
“If, down the road, they work like they’re supposed to work, we could box (the paper towel waste) and sell it back to the company, and the company recycles them and makes more paper towels,” Backen said.
She added that the bins should not create an odor.
“There shouldn’t be a smell, because it’s only paper towels,” Backen said. “There will be a second can next to it for food waste, and there are recycling bins in all the bathrooms for bottles and cans.”
During the trial period, Facilities will observe if the bins’ use incorporates well into the CSU community. Potentially, they could appear in other high-traffic buildings, including Eddy Hall, the Morgan Library, and the other wings of Clark—but there is one small hitch.
According to Backen, Facilities wanted to conduct the trial in the Morgan Library bathrooms, but ran into the problem that none of them have electrical outlets.
Though rewiring might be required to install the new trash cans in the library, Backen said that the result would not be a big power drain on the University.
“They actually use very little (electricity),” she said. “The machine will only run when it gets to a certain level.”
According to Janet Vigil, a Facilities custodial services manager, they hope that students will recognize the attempt that is being made towards increased sustainability in the University buildings, and treat the machines correctly.
“We’re hoping that they take it to heart,” she said.
Collegian Reporter Julia Rentsch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @julia_rentsch.