networking bin there webinar recap

Bin There, Learned That: Networking Event on Waste Bin Infrastructure

Original air date: October 27th, 2021 at 2:00pm EDT


There’s a growing awareness about the importance of standardization and strategic planning for recycling and waste bins infrastructure. For institutional settings such as universities, corporate, or government buildings, simply putting out bins in an ad hoc fashion is an invitation to low recycling participation and high contamination. The solution is to revamp the infrastructure based on best practices, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds.

This Zoom-based event was dedicated to small group discussion between attendees. Following a brief introduction, attendees were free to move between breakout rooms dedicated to different topics. With no featured presentations, this program was exclusively organized around these un-moderated discussion groups. Recycling and facilities managers used this session to share challenges, lessons learned, and resources, and to network with their counterparts at other institutional settings around the US and Canada.

Thank you to all our moderators for their time & expertise in guiding these discussions!

If you are interested in learning more about Busch Systems and which products would be best for you & your organization, you can reach our experts directly at!

Guiding Considerations & Resources:

In each of our breakout rooms, a summary of resources were shared with attendees. The following breakdown contains resources & guiding considerations compiled by our Senior Advisor Alec Cooley.

BIN SPECIFICATIONS (Choosing the Right Bins for Your Program)


  • What bin specs / features are your priority for: guiding correct recycling behavior, operational efficiency (servicing bins, ergonomics, etc.), and cleaning & maintenance
  • What design restrictions are required by local fire codes?
  • What general styles are included in campus standards?
  • Costs & purchasing strategies


KAB Best practice guide for Public Space Recycling
Blog about design specs for outdoor bins

LABELS & SIGNAGE (Choosing the Right Wording & Images)


  • Words vs picture vs icons?
  • How much information to list? How detailed?
  • How do your waste audit results inform what information to put on signs?
  • Choose the specific words and/or images to display
  • Maintain consistent terminology, standardized layout & branding
  • Strategic placement & prominence of labels & signage on / around bin


Database of academic research about signage and other recycling behavior issues
Blog on research about using images vs words
UT Austin AASHE presentation on effort to update and standardize signage

BIN PLACEMENT (Considerations for Optimal Placement)


  • Where to place for convenient access (max. distance users have to walk, site lines / visibility)
  • Placing bins to avoid contamination – anticipating flow of traffic, mapping sources of waste generation
  • Fire code restrictions on where bins can be placed
  • Eliminating redundant trash bins
WORKING WITH STAKEHOLDERS (Getting Buy-In; Implementing Design Standards)


  • Designating bin styles & features for new standard(s)
  • Identify stakeholders that have a role
  • How formal is process? What’s steps are involved?
  • How much authority do standards have? Do they have Leadership’s stamp of approval?
  • Ensuring aesthetics don’t trump best practices
  • Policing bin & placement standards over time
  • How do you keep different stakeholders from ignoring standards?
OFFICE WORKSTATIONS (Deskside Best Solutions)


  • Bin configuration – are personal bins provided? Are liners provided?
  • Are personal bins serviced by housekeeping or individual office workers? What frequency?
  • Strategies to get stakeholder buy-in for changes – conducting a pilot, gathering metrics and testimonials
  • Talking points to overcome objections
  • Communication / engagement strategies
  • Political strategies
  • Roll out / transition steps to new system
  • Implementing at one time vs in phases?


Recycling@Work study on deskside bin configurations
Blog series about implementing self-service deskside collection system
Database of universities that have implemented a version of centralized collection



  • Advance planning steps
  • Stakeholders to involve
  • Access / transporting bins to location
  • Staging area
  • Contracting deployment service to a 3rd party
  • Plan for old bins being removed


Statewide guidelines for recycling rules
Zabble (app-based data tracking system)
Partially-underground bins
Integration into new building design and construction
Zero waste campus council, zero waste professionals who meet monthly to have casual problem solving discussion