By Bobby Holt
With an enrollment of approximately 22,500 students on campus and a ratio of 24 students to every one faculty member, waste management is a major issue. One could argue that there is more trash on campus due to the surplus of students. But after facing millions of dollars in budget cuts, the pile of trash is not because of messy students but rather the decrease in frequency of trash pick-up around campus.
With this year’s $34 million budget shortfall, maintaining proper waste disposal and the changing of garbage cans has reached a heavy decline. President Samuel L. Stanley said, “Filling the gap cannot be done without cutting jobs.”
According to a Facilities and Services Department e-mail, trash pickup was not the only thing hurt by the budget cut. The cleaning of public spaces, classrooms and hallways by custodial services has been reduced to once a week, while the cleaning of offices, suites and cubicles has been diminished to once a month.
The amount of ground service cleaning has also decreased. Lawn mowing frequency, landscaping and street sweeping have been reduced in order to save money.
Throughout all of these cuts, Stony Brook has implemented a new solar trash compactor as a part of its green initiative, joining more than 650 institutions in initiating the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality. The university plans to achieve a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas.
The new trash cans, made by BigBelly Solar, compact approximately four to five garbage cans worth of waste into one. BigBelly, as advertised on its website, drastically lowers the operating costs, fuel consumptions and green house gas emissions by up to 80 percent. Self-powered and requiring no outside electricity to operate, the cans save on labor costs and are energy efficient.
There are currently solar trash compactors outside the SAC, the Javits Lecture Hall and the Student Union (which is located in the shade).
The cans, priced at roughly $4,000 each, help bridge the gap between the budget shortfalls by reducing the amount of attention that needs to be given to the changing of garbage cans. Though the vast majority of garbage cans still require frequent pick-ups, the introduction of the solar compactors will lead to a decreased need to maintain at least a few spots on campus.
These trash cans, which require fewer costs to maintain, are implemented to both manage the necessity of constant garbage changing while saving the University excess spending on custodial service.