In 2020 the university changed the way trash and recycling are managed on campus. Like other institutions, we implemented a new system that allows our custodial staff to devote more time cleaning high-touch surfaces in hallways, classrooms, conference rooms, kitchens, and entrances. In addition, this allows custodians time to focus on specifically requested service tasks like classroom arrangements, specialized cleaning, and event preparation. Custodians will continue with other office cleaning tasks including vacuuming and dusting and cleaning within university labs. The new method of trash and recycling disposal requires all faculty and staff to be responsible for managing the disposal of their personal trash and recyclables by delivering them to centralized drop-off locations/stations throughout each building. Since the beginning of the implementation last year, departmental support has been critical to the program's success, and for that, we are grateful.
Within campus offices, a small container called a "trash buddy" now hangs from the desk-side recycle bin. If there isn’t a recycling bin with a trash buddy in an office, please submit a service request in TRIRIGA. When either the recycling bin or trash buddy is full, they should be taken from the office by staff and faculty to centralized stations inside their buildings, which are easily accessible. Anyone disposing of food waste is encouraged to bag it as soon as possible and take it directly to a centralized drop-off location to avoid odors or attracting pests. Liners for the trash buddies will be located at each of the centralized drop-off locations. Emptying of trash buddies should occur daily and especially on Fridays prior to leaving for the weekend. At each of the centralized drop-off locations, there is more information on recycling.
The reconfiguration of how trash and recyclables from offices are handled in our buildings is one step in a holistic reinvention of the entire trash and recycling system at Rice. This reinvention, supported by the senior administration, began in 2019 and has led to dramatically streamlined processes, the deployment of innovative technologies, and the introduction of new capabilities, such as the composting of food waste from the kitchens of campus serveries. Additional changes to parts of this system will be introduced later this year and in 2022, all with the ultimate goal of minimizing waste, diverting appropriate materials to recycling or composting, and using our labor and equipment as efficiently as possible.