Student Kyra Levau spends enough time at D.H. Hill Library to know where the trash cans are ‒ and are not.
As she studied on the library’s upper floors, Levau found no shortage of small trash cans scattered throughout rows and rows of bookshelves but had to wait until she was on the bottom floors of the library to recycle.
She decided to change that.
In late April, Levau mobilized student volunteers to work alongside NC State Waste Reduction and Recycling in creating centralized waste collection areas on each floor. These centralized sites feature a recycling bin, landfill bin and signage that guides users on the appropriate bin for the items they wish to discard.
“At convenience sites, [students] have both a landfill and recycling option [whereas] they were previously only presented with a landfill option,” Levau said. “Removing 337 deskside landfill bins and replacing them with convenience sites will assist in capturing more of the library’s recycling waste and also greatly improve University Housekeeping [employees’] time to check and change bin liners at each of these bins,” Levau said.
A major in environmental sciences with a minor in statistics, Levau is the president of Zero Waste Wolves, a student organization dedicated to reducing campus waste. She is also an intern with NC State’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Office, which conducted a site evaluation and helped implement the new centralized bin system.
“This change will help our campus meet its sustainability strategic goals, as well as save our economic and environmental resources,” Levau said.
Fittingly, the 337 bins removed from the library are finding new life through the university’s surplus property services and at the College of Design, where students in labs use the bins to store fabric scraps.