New trash containers installed around the Virginia Tech campus during winter break will make it easier to recycle and help save the university money. 

Nearly 100 of the containers, called BigBelly Solar compactors, have been installed in key locations around campus. One side of the container is for recycling all plastic, metal, and glass items. The other side is for waste such as paper, food wrappers, food waste, and Styrofoam. Using renewable solar power, the containers will compact the trash inside, creating space for more garbage. In addition, sensors will alert campus maintenance staff when the bins are full and collection is needed.

“BigBelly Solar compactors will make it easier for the Virginia Tech community to recycle and help the university reach its sustainability goals,” said Sherwood Wilson, vice president for administration.

Every year, Virginia Tech collects more than 3,600 tons of trash and 2,300 tons of recyclable material. The university's recycling rate is 44 percent and has steadily grown since 2008. Virginia Tech is committed to reaching a 50 percent recycling rate by 2020. 

“We expect the new trash and recycling system to save the university money and free up maintenance staff for other needed work,” said Mark Helms, interim associate vice president and chief facilities officer.

Currently, maintenance staff empty waste bins 5-6 times per week. That number will decrease by an estimated 40-50 percent with the new system.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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