Mini Waste Bins Coming to Plant Science Building

Following success in bin deployment in Humphreys Service Building, new pilot encourages engagement in waste management...

Kermit holds a mini-bin.
Kermit holds a mini-bin.

By George Wood, Cornell R5 Operations Manager

Cornell’s R5 Operations department plans to distribute mini waste bins in Plant Science by November 15, on the America Recycles Day. The goal of the program is to:

(1) Reduce the amount of landfill produced
(2) Increase recycling practices
(3) Increase awareness about proper waste management among the Cornell community


The program of distributing mini waste bins further addresses the following two crucial components of R5’s stated goals:

- Build partnerships and implement best practices for campus-wide sustainable waste and materials management.
- Provide educational, collaborative, and engaging campus-wide waste management and materials management programs.


The R5 team received important insights from the pilot of the mini bins project in HSB before planning to expand to other buildings. These include:

  • 39% decrease in the total waste reduction.
  • Decrease in the average recycling found in landfill every day from 17 lb. in early December 2015 to 1.3 lb. in late March 2016.
  • 13% Waste Diversion Improvement.
  • Spike of 22.5% in the improvement of proper waste segregation.
  • Recycle waste not contaminated; recycle stream primarily included business generated waste.
  • Landfill contained mainly food preparation generated waste; very little food organics in the waste stream.
  • Estimated reduction of zip-lock bags by 75%; estimated reduction of paper cups by 50%.

The initiative of using mini bins and extending this program to all of CALS aligns well with the mission of R5 Operations department that seeks and strives to Respect, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Edited by Srishti Jalan '17, Communication & Media Studies Major, Campus Sustainability Office Graphics and Communications Assistant

Views expressed in News posts may not be those of Cornell University. No endorsement is implied.