Fairfield University first university in nation to install UNO machines

Fairfield University is the first university in the country to install Tomra of North America's 'UNO reverse vending machine (RVM),' an all-in-one recycling machine, allowing students to deposit plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers for a rebate of a nickel.

Tomra of North America, a Shelton, CT based company is a popular supplier of recycling machines to stores, such as Big Y and Shaws. Designed to handle up to 20 containers per minute, UNOs have a storage capacity of 500 containers. Since beverage containers can often account for up to 50% of a trash bin's volume, UNOs can significantly help reduce the need to empty trash bins and limit littering. According to Joseph Bouchard, director of Environmental Health and Safety at the University, four UNOs will be placed in the student housing townhouse units. "The state of Connecticut has added water bottles to the items that are 'returnable' as of October 1, so that will be another opportunity for students to earn a rebate," said Bouchard.

Image: students recycling
Fairfield University is the first university to install a recycling machine called the UNO. Pictured are Dana August '11, second from left, and Zachary Gross '12, center, of the Student Environmental Association, with recyclers Steven Scappaticci '11, Brian Seminara '11 and David Brotman '11.

Image: students recycling
Uno in action: Fairfield University student undergraduates Steven Scappaticci '11, Brian Seminara '11 and David Brotman '11 use the UNO, an all-in-one recycling machine.

Campus environmentalists hope to eventually install more UNOs. Dina Franceschi, Ph.D., associate professor of economics, said, "The efforts by Fairfield are nothing short of amazing. We are the first college campus to install these machines, which is just the latest among recycling projects driven by students, staff and faculty."

These latest recycling efforts come in the wake of measures to recycle  'techno trash' (batteries, cell phones, and compact fluorescent light bulbs) and the student-driven 'Gimme 5' program that takes Number 5 plastics (yogurt containers, margarine tubs) out of the campus waste stream. Last year, trays were eliminated from the campus dining hall, leading to reductions in food and beverage waste.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 23, 2009

Vol. 42, No. 61

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