Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Welcome Mini Max!

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Hi, I'm Mini Max! Cartoon garbage canThanks for your support for our new initiative for Sustainability! We have been piloting this program throughout the district and are now moving into the implementation phase. We appreciate your willingness to test this system out, provide feedback through our online survey, and help shape how PCC handles its waste in effort to meet our Climate Action Plan goals.

The initiative is called the Mini-Max System, co-sponsored by the Sustainability Office and the Custodial Department that we are implementing college-wide. The Mini-Max trash bins are little black boxes that hang on the side of your desk-side recycling bins (in place of what used to be your normal desk-side trash bins).

How it works:Photo of a real mini max on a recycling can
  • Your desk-side trash can is replaced with the Mini Max can. Place your landfill garbage into the Mini-Max, and all your recyclable materials into your normal desk-side recycling bin.
  •  When they’re full, or when you want them emptied, take them to the closest centralized trash and recycling area and empty them. Custodians will continue to empty these larger units daily.
  • We are suggesting that people take their food and wet trash directly to their central bins, to avoid dirtying the Mini Max. This also helps reduce pest issues! No liners will be provided though reusable towels for cleaning will be available.
  • Once you have your Mini Max, the custodians will no longer empty your desk-side container; you will need to do it yourself.
Why we are doing this:
  • The program is intended to help meet PCC’s sustainability goals.
    • Studies suggest that when people handle their own waste, they are more mindful of it and ultimately produce less waste and/or recycle more.
    • In fact, a Recycling at Work study found that mini trash cans improved recycling by 20%!
  • It reduces plastic consumption.
    • Most trash cans hold plastic liners. District-wide there are approximately 1,400 desk-side trash cans, which means up to 7,000 plastic liners go to landfill each week.
    • Eliminating the desk-side trash cans and the need to purchase liners will divert nearly 15,000 pounds of plastic from the landfill alone, totaling almost fifteen metric tons of CO2 annually (which is like taking four cars off the road for one year).
  • Custodians have more time to focus on other cleaning tasks.
    • Custodians have the responsibility of taking care of all the buildings on campus and cleaning up after more than 90,000 students, faculty and staff (on an annual basis).
    • Per campus, they spend 8-12 hours a day/40-60 hours a week emptying desk-side trash cans, most of which hold only a few items.
    • Centralized trash collection will cut this time significantly, allowing custodians to focus on other important work, such as cleaning restrooms and dining areas and tackling deep cleaning. No custodial positions will be eliminated as a result of this initiative.

Please provide your feedback via our survey here. Thanks for your support of this initiative!

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PCC offers this limited open forum as an extension of the respectful, well-reasoned discourse we expect in our classroom discussions. As such, we welcome all viewpoints, but monitor comments to be sure they stick to the topic and contribute to the conversation. We will remove them if they contain or link to abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, off-topic items, or spam. This is the same behavior we require in our hallways and classrooms. Our online spaces are no different.

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