Rethinking Trash Cans

Rethinking and Repurposing Trash Cans

In the fall of 2014, Northern Arizona University invested 1 million dollars to provide about 130 “Big Belly” outdoor recycling and trash receptacles across campus.  This positive change provides outdoor recycling across campus and has established more efficient use of staff time for trash and recycling collection because the Big Bellies include internal trash compactors and provide electronic notification when they are full and need to be emptied.  However, this transition created a problem:  what to do with the 80 stone trash cans being replaced.  The creative reuse solution generated by Tom Yazzie, Residence Life Grounds Crew Chief, was to turn these into planters for summer landscaping.    Not only are we diverting potential waste from the landfill, but we continue to make NAU an even more beautiful campus and eliminate the need to purchase planters.  Currently, planters have been placed north of Allen Hall and by the Sechrist Hall entrance.  There are plans to continue identifying locations across campus to add these new planters.

The original containers
Ready to be painted, placed, and planted!
The final product, north of Allen Hall
From cigarette holder to cactus holder
A row of summer flowers