President's Building Adopts MiniMax
The office of new president Michael Young was among 190 offices and workstations in Gerberding that received the MiniMax system to replace traditional garbage cans. Gerberding is also home to the Office of the Provost, Office of External Affairs, University Advancement, Finance & Facilities Administration and others.
Built in 1949, Gerberding Hall was known as the Administration Building until 1995 when it was renamed in honor of President William P. Gerberding. Today, Gerberding is at the forefront of environmental stewardship. Championed by the Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability Office (ESS), Gerberding Hall Green Team and the building coordinator, the transition to MiniMax was an important decision of efficiency and responsibility.
Prior to the installation of MiniMax, each workstation had a waste bin serviced by custodians and a separate recycle bin that each individual would empty into a central collection container on their floor.
“People are used to being responsible for their own recycling,” said Gene Woodard, director of Building Services. “MiniMax is the next step in enhancing people's awareness of what they throw away. Typically, people generate very small amounts of trash at their desk, so it is easy to empty the mini trash containers into a centralized container that custodians remove.”
Gerberding custodians had been spending nearly six hours per day going desk-to-desk to collect trash, according to Woodard, sometimes for little or no garbage.
“MiniMax also makes trash collection in the building much more efficient,” he said. “In most cases, we’re working with buildings to introduce central compost bins on each floor, emptied by custodians with the time not spent visiting every workstation.”
The new compost collection helps staff divert even more waste from the landfill. In addition, MiniMax is liner-free. With 190 people no longer using one waste can liner per day, Gerberding will save an estimated 50,000 liners from the landfill annually.
“MiniMax makes it very easy for people to be more green,” said Aubrey Batchelor, ESS staff assistant and Green Team member. “Waste reduction is not only about how our waste is diverted, composted or recycled; it is also about reducing the waste we create in the first place. Staff will begin to think about the waste they are generating, and ideally this will encourage behavior change as well.”
The UW has more than 10,000 workstations at its Seattle campus. Currently, MiniMax is a voluntary program favored by those who are rethinking how they can make a difference. As the program grows, the benefits are increasingly clear.
“The MiniMax installation at Gerberding Hall is a perfect example of how simple changes to our systems and processes can have an immediate, positive impact on the environment,” said Ruth Johnston, associate vice-president of Finance & Facilities. “Our staff and leadership in Gerberding Hall are setting an example that others can easily follow, and we are proud to do our part to be better stewards of the environment.”
Is your building ready to adopt MiniMax? Contact UW Recycling & Solid Waste for more information.
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