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Liquid Waste Stream

Liquid Waste bin example from Bartley Hall
Liquid Waste bin example from Bartley Hall

About the Liquid Waste Stream:

Why implement a liquid waste program?

  • Recent waste categorization studies at VU have shown that 16% of all waste is actually liquid waste from unfinished beverages or ice.  In some areas of campus, that percentage was as high as 32%.  Iced coffee is quite popular, and while the drink itself might get consumed, the ice is usually left inside of the cup when discarded.  
  • Reduces carbon emissions
  • Reduces contamination in recycling bins
  • Reduces risk of injury to our custodial staff and community
  • Reduces waste disposal costs
  • In many areas where we have trash and recycling bins, we do not have sink drain access, so consumers have nowhere to empty their cups or bottles.  Liquid Waste collections bins can be placed anywhere indoors where we have trash or recycling bins.  Consumers pour their unfinished beverages or ice into these bins, and the liquid is captured in a container inside the bin.  The container is then emptied into our plumbing drains by VU custodial staff.  This waste stream eliminates the need for our collections vehicles to haul this material


Where does the liquid go?

  • The liquid waste is diverted through discharge into our waste water system and processed downstream by waste water treatment.  This is much more cost effective than hauling liquid in our trash to the waste to energy incinerator, and it greatly reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  


Where can I find the Liquid Waste Stream bins?

  • Bartley Hall - liquid waste bins were installed as a pilot project by the Waste & Recycling team in August of 2022.  To test the effectiveness of these bins, waste audits were conducted at this location after the bins were deployed.  During these audits, we found that nearly 80% of all liquid waste generated at this location was captured by these bins
  • Donahue Hall - liquid waste bins were installed in this dining hall in late December, 2022.  As our Dining Services group is returning to using reusable platewear and cups, they were looking for a solution to keep trash bins from becoming too heavy.  The liquid waste bins have been quite helpful in capturing unfinished beverages, and protecting the staff in this location.
  • Future Locations - Our goal is to continue installing these bins in eating areas, Holy Grounds cafe locations, or anywhere else that large amounts of beverages are consumed, but access to plumbing drain systems isn't adequate.  We also hope to influence future construction or renovations on campus to include plumbed-in drain systems adjacent to waste & recycling bins so that the need for emptying a liquid waste bin is not needed.