Sustainability

Trash Buddy

A right-sized container for landfill trash.

A Trash Buddy is a small container that accompanies the blue recycling bin in your personal workspace. Trash Buddy replaces your traditional trash can and is sized based on the average amount of trash that each occupant produces in 2-3 work days. You can use your bins the same way you’ve used your previous bins, except for the disposal of liquid or food waste. All the waste you produce at your desk that is not recyclable should be disposed of in the trash buddy.

Naturally, any recyclables can go into the recycling bin — waste sorting information will be displayed on your bins. Any wet items (such as food) should be emptied in a central waste bin to avoid odor and staining; only dry items should be disposed of in the trash buddy.

Central waste stations can be found in common spaces around the office or building. Regular servicing of these bins by Custodial Services remains the same.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can use your bins the same way you’ve used your previous bins, except for the disposal of liquid or food waste. All the waste you produce at your desk that is not recyclable should be disposed of in the trash buddy. Naturally, any recyclables can go into the recycling bin — waste sorting information will be displayed on your bins. Any wet items (such as food) should be emptied in a central waste bin to avoid odor and staining; only dry items should be disposed of in the trash buddy. Central waste stations can be found in common spaces around the office or building. Please note that the regular servicing of these bins by Custodial Services will remain the same.

Success of the program is gauged by a variety of factors including, but not limited to: reduction in landfill waste, reduction in contamination in our waste stream, engagement of the community in waste-related education, etc. Updated waste tonnage information is available in our annual report the December following the close of each fiscal year.​​

Based upon the buildings that are currently using the Trash Buddy system, there has been a general trend toward decreased waste production and contamination. It is expected that this trend will continue as the system is rolled out and this will be monitored by tracking changes in waste production and contamination rates.

One of the major benefits of the Trash Buddy is the removal of plastic liners. With thousands of workspaces using these plastic liners, they accumulate very quickly and increase the production of trash that ultimately ends up in our almost-capped Rhode Island landfill. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 60% of marine debris that causes severe environmental problems is a result of single-use plastics such as plastic bags. By cutting back on plastic usage in each workspace, the amount of plastic disposed at Brown and the amount of waste we send into our environment will decrease tremendously.

No. Custodial Services will continue to service your deskside waste bins as they do currently. If your bin fills up between these servicing sessions, you are welcome to empty it into a communal trash bin. Your custodian is not responsible for cleaning your deskside bins so please dispose of any food and wet items in communal bins. Please keep in mind that if you choose to purchase your own separate waste bins in lieu of using the trash buddy system, these bins will not be serviced by your custodians.

​​Your old trash bin will be sent back to the vendor that is supplying the Trash Buddies. They will either recycle or redistribute these bins to other institutions. There is no need to worry, they will be handled in an environmentally-conscious and appropriate manner.

Most office waste produced is actually recyclable (paper in particular). The bin has been sized according to this principle. The most common items that will end up in the Trash Buddy include napkins, tissues, paper towels, soft plastic (such as plastic bags and utensils) and foil wrappers (candy and granola bar wrappers). If you find that your Trash Buddy fills up more than twice a week, you are welcome to empty your waste into a communal trash bin.

​​Yes, Trash Buddies will be deployed in all administrative and academic office spaces.

If you have any outstanding questions, you can contact our office at Sustainability@Brown.edu and we will help you in the best way we can.

The best way to make your office more environmentally-friendly is to incentivize education — Brown's Office of Sustainability offers plenty of training according to your needs. Some examples include waste training, bike education, compost training, and plenty of other services. If you wish to hear about the different options, please contact Sustainability@brown.edu.