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Trash the Trash

Trash the Trash

HSPH Operations and Eco-Opportunity have collaborated to try to reduce the number of trash cans that are on-site at people’s desks.  The program went through a pilot period in the Operations & IT Office, and ran with much success.  The two offices, sharing the same office space, were able to eliminate all the individual trash cans, in turn creating one central ‘waste station’ where options for recycling, composting, and trash are available.  This switch to a centralized waste station reduces the number of liners that the school is disposing of, while encouraging occupants to make conscious decisions about how to handle their trash.

Trash the Trash, What’s Under Your Desk?

What’s Under Your Desk??

Do you find that PAPER is the most common “trash” in your desk-side trash can??  HSPH Operations and Eco-Opportunity have collaborated to reduce the number of trash cans that are at people’s desks and create one common waste station.  The Trash the Trash Program went through a pilot period in the Operations & IT Office, and ran with much success, eliminating all of the individual trash cans!! The core ‘waste station’ has containers for recycling, composting, and trash, providing all of the appropriate alternatives for greener waste management.

Aside from the environmental benefits of reducing trash that is to be landfilled, there are also financial and health benefits.  This switch to a centralized waste station reduces the number of trash can liners that are purchased cutting down on costs, it offers an educational outlet for the community to learn better waste management practices and encourages public health by having occupants take a few trips a day to this core location to dispose of their waste.

To really promote this program, we did a cost-benefit analysis of our out-going waste from HSPH.  In FY10, regular trash cost $237 dollars per ton to dispose of, while compostable and recyclable waste combined was an average $180 per ton. With such a high recycling rate (58%), proper waste disposal is a must.  Properly sorting out recyclable and compostable waste from regular trash saved almost $21,000 that year alone!!  By encouraging this Trash the Trash program, we’ve not only sustained a means to reducing waste expenses, but we’ve made it easy for people to practice “greener” waste disposal methods and become active members in reducing Harvard’s carbon footprint!