Three solar trash compactors on trial across campus; cost $10,500 total

Waste Management loaned three solar trash compactors to Central Michigan University to help the university become more environmentally sustainable.

The compactors are located in front of the Bovee University Center, Warriner Hall and the Education and Human Services Building. They cost about $3,500 per unit to rent, reaching a total of $10,500.

"Waste Management has loaned several units to CMU for a few weeks as a trial," said Steve Lawrence, associate vice president of Facilities Management, in an email. "They were used at the Oct. 1 football game."

CMU wanted the units to arrive in time for campus tours and the fall football season, because of the increased traffic to campus.

The compactors contain their own solar panels located in the lids, and are paired with a recycling container from Waste Management. Each unit is wirelessly connected to a command center that monitors its functions, such as fullness.

The campus sustainability advisory committee had the original idea to bring the units to CMU. The committee monitors environmental efforts on campus, and advises the university president on student and faculty involvement. It was formed in 2008.

Many students think the units should stay on campus permanently.

“I’ve really been pro-solar energy, so I think that it will help a lot,” said Canton freshman Bridget McEvilly.

Members of the Student Environmental Alliance are involved in events such as the Midwest Power Shift, which is a multi-state conference to discuss environmental issues.

“(The units) are a smart and efficient way for the campus to be sustainable,” said SEA member and Hersey freshman Amanda Melanson.

Tom Rohrer, director of the Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems, said CMU's efforts to become more sustainable began about five years ago.

Besides the compactors, other efforts include installing energy efficient windows and light bulbs, "trayless" dining in residential restaurants to save water and using environmentally green products campus-wide.


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