Trash & Recycling:


Starting in 2012, there was a new emphasis placed on improving our waste disposal system as part of the Green Gosport Initiative. A somewhat arbitrary goal of reducing our solid waste by 40% from 2011 was set out by SIC at the beginning of 2012. According to the end-of-season 2012 logistics coordinator, we reduced the total volume of trash by 38.8% (180 fewer yards of trash) and increased our total volume of recycling by 73.9% (176 more yards of recycling). The decrease in overall trash volume was likely due to a variety of reasons including a new 4-bin system, emphasis and education centered around recycling, and compacting our waste. It is difficult to tell how much of a difference compacting actually made considering there was only 4 yards less of total waste (trash and recycling) produced in 2012.

4-bin System:

Beginning in 2012, a new system was introduced that comprised of four separate bins for disposing of waste. The four categories are Paper & Glass, Plastics 1-7, Metals, and Landfill (Trash). There are several reasons for doing this even though the recycling is eventually disposed of as single stream on the mainland.

Reasons for Separating Waste Stream into Four Bins:

  • Paper & Glass is separated and loaded into green 96-gallon totes. It is much safer and easier to empty heavy bags of glass and paper into totes rather than over your head into a large dumpster. Additionally, there is broken glass in about 75% of these bags, which is also a safety concern. The green totes are single stream. </li>
      • Metals were originally separated so that they could be taken to the scrap yard and sold. As of 2012 they were compacted together with plastics and emptied into a 10yd recycling dumpster. Theoretically, the metals could be scrapped for a negligible amount; however, it would save space in the dumpster, and we wouldn’t be paying for it to be removed.
      • Plastics are recycled the same way as metals and are emptied into the recycling dumpster. They are first compacted.
      • Separating the recycling into 3 bins allows for plastic and metal to be compacted.
      • The main reason for using the 4-bin system is because it engages staff and conferees in the process of disposing of their waste. In a society where we need to be paying more attention to the effect our waste has on the environment, the 4-bin system proved to be educational, effective, and even fun! The four bin system also allowed for the creation of “recycling stations,” or structures built to house the barrels, further streamlining the recycling process and making it easier to understand. See attached photos of the “Main Recycling Station” and “The Trash-eanic.” These stations were built mostly with recycled and scrap lumber.

    Important Notes about the 4-bin System:


  • In areas where there wasn’t space or time to install a recycling station, the cans were spray-painted with Rustoleum Moss Green and a stencil of the Green Gosport Initiative logo. The coats on the trash cans need to be touched up at the end of every year.</li>
      • Every set of four bins was equipped with clear, unified signage. The signage attempted to be simple and easy-to-read while simultaneously clearing up any ambiguities. Some of the exterior signs were framed with recycled driftwood coated in polyurethane. This allowed for them to be securely attached to the wall without puncturing the laminate, which effectively de-waterproofs them. The signs were printed by Infinite Imaging in Portsmouth. They should have the signs on file under “Star Island.”
      • Window boxes showcasing exactly what items should be recycled were attached to the lids of the Main Recycling Station . This was a huge success and ideally all recycling stations will eventually have some type of visual cues. See photo.
      • The Trash-eanic should be stored under or on the front porch at the end of each season to protect it from the weather. It can be moved relatively easily with the backhoe.
      • In most cases, the sets of four bins were broken up into three larger, equal-sized cans (used for recycling), and a smaller can (used for Landfill). The landfill can was generally placed in the hardest-to-reach place. Both of these helped encourage better recycling habits!
      • An excess liquids container (an old ice cream container) with a screen for catching food (limes, etc.) was placed in front of the Main Recycling Station. This greatly decreased the amount of liquids going into the trash and recycling. It was emptied and cleaned with Go2 everyday.
      • The Main Recycling Station is cleaned off with a rag and Go2 everyday during rounds.

    GGI Index:

    The Green Gosport Initiative (GGI) Index was introduced as a way of getting conferees excited about recycling properly during each conference week. The GGI index is a friendly competition that pits the conferences against one another to see who is paying the most attention to signage and recycling the best. An announcement was made (attached) at the beginning of each conference explaining the details and rules of the competition, and their scores were posted in the lobby on the bulletin board. During the announcement, there was a special emphasis placed on challenging the current week to match or beat the previous week’s score.

    Each day during rounds, one truck crew member judges a random recycling station in a conferee area, assigning it a certain number of points out of ten based on how well the trash and recycling is sorted. All of these points are added up (the highest possible score is 60/60) and that is their GGI Index for the week.

    Trash & Recycling Guidelines:

    For more information on what exactly goes in Trash & Recycling, see the attached “Star Island Recycling Guide.”

    Important Clarifications Not Included in the Guide:


  • Paper cups with a “wax” lining on the inside and/or outside are not recyclable or compostable. The “wax” lining is actually polypropylene, a type of plastic, which renders it non-biodegradable and the combination of paper and plastic makes it non-recyclable.</li>
      • Flimsy plastic packaging (even those with a recycling symbol and number), bubble wrap, plastic bags, and plastic wrap are never recyclable. Plastic silverware and straws are not recyclable.
      • It is okay to [carefully] recycle clean, broken glass.
      • Plastics and metals should be compacted before being taken off-island.
      • It is better to recycle soiled plastic or metal than to throw it in the trash. This is not true of soiled paper products (used paper plates, napkins, paper towels) which belong in compost.
      • Plastic caps should be separated from the plastic containers and the top and bottom lids of tin cans should be removed.
      • In 2012, staff and conferees were asked to set aside glass wine and liquor bottles to be used in the Pel Garden to line the beds.
      • Biohazard bags should be clearly labeled, double-bagged and put into CLEAR trash bags so that truck and boat crews know what goodies lurk inside. They should never be compacted.
      • Bags of trash and recycling should be kept under cover. Otherwise seagulls and rats will get into them.
      • Paper towels are disposed of in separate bins in the main bathrooms, collected by Chamber, and then stored in a covered cage outside of Chamber. When the cage becomes full it is emptied into the compost pile. See photo.

    2012 Locations and Can Sizes of Full and Partial Recycling Stations:

    For more Information, see the attached Excel Spreadsheet, titled 2012 Recycling Stations.


    Rounds is separated into three sections: Perimeter, Tower and Underworld/Kitchen. One member of truck crew takes care of each individual area. Each member should include some relatively clean recycled bags generated by compacting or emptying paper and glass into the totes. It is also a good idea to wear gloves during rounds to help prevent the spread of disease. Bags are changed out when they become moderately heavy to carry, except in the cases of Newton and Marshman, where they are exchanged more readily (fruit flies tend to gather there). Never use recycled bags in the kitchen. Make sure all members of truck crew wash their hands frequently. After that, cardboard is bundled and the broken glass and ceramics box dealt with.


    This area includes the pier, Brookfield, Cottage D, Lindquist, Newton, Marshman, Shack and the carp shop.


    This area is comprised of OBR, OLR, the dining hall, Swett Ave, the dish room, the pots room, and the power house.


    The tower rounds include the front porch, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of the hotel. The front porch takes the longest: a rag and a bottle of Go2 are used to wipe down the compost/yomp station and the main recycling station everyday. The excess liquids container is emptied and wiped down everyday.


    Cardboard ia bundled into three types: clean, shiny, or waxy.


  • Cardboard is considered clean if it is free of tape and has a matte surface (it can be dyed so long as it is produced in the USA). Clean cardboard can be shredded by the Green Machine and used as a much-needed carbon source for compost. This process was begun during end-of-season 2012, and could potentially decrease the amount of cardboard we ship off-island by up to 75%!!! It is also extremely useful for on island composting. </li>
      • Shiny cardboard, or cardboard covered in lots of tape, can still be recycled and is bundled together. This includes beer boxes as well as other food packaging.
      • Extremely waxy cardboard (the wax can be scraped off easily with a fingernail) can’t be recycled (boo!). It gets bundled together and put in the trash bagster. There is a possibility of composting the very waxy cardboard next season.

    Spent Lightbulbs, Broken Glass and Ceramics:

    There is a wooden box on the back kitchen loading dock large enough to hold six 5-gallon paint buckets. The buckets are separated into three types (2 buckets each): Spent or broken light bulbs (one bucket for regular light bulbs and one for compact fluorescents [they contain mercury]); broken glass; and broken ceramic dishes, bowls, and mugs. It is important to let food service know exactly how this system works. As part of rounds, one truck crew member takes a piece of rebar and (using safety goggles) smashes down the broken glass and ceramics through the tiny hole in one of the lids used for pouring paint. When the bucket is completely full it can be exchanged with another or emptied into a larger receptacle. The glass can then be taken off-island and put in the recycling dumpster (if it is relatively clean). The broken ceramics should be thrown away or recycled in some other way (for example, in an art project) and the light bulbs can be given to the power house to dispose of.


    The compactor (Sven) is located underneath the front porch adjacent to the G-Plex.

    To operate the compactor, first put it into the loading position. To achieve this, make sure the lock is disengaged on the bottom left of the compactor. Press the red lever on the top right of the compactor. This will push the entire apparatus upwards. From here you can load two bags one around the other onto the central cannister. While holding the bags in place step on the red button located at the front left bottom of the compactor. This lowers the entire apparatus until the central cannister is touching the bottom platform. Important: The central cannister must be touching the bottom platform; sometimes it gets caught up in the last few inches. If it catches, simply keep holding the button down and apply some downwards pressure onto the cannister. Once it is down all the way, lock the cannister in place using the v-shaped lock on the bottom left of the compactor. The locked position is when the rear part of the “V” is pressed down. From here you can open the lid of the compactor by lifting the safety bar in front and sliding it back. Begin loading trash or recycling to compact. Once you have filled up the cannister, close the lid and hold down the red lever on the right. After a while, the machine will begin to make an obnoxious whining noise. Despite the fact that this sounds like the machine is breaking, you can actually hold the lever down for a while after this (it will eventually buck, and you should let go) unless there is a group of conferees trying to enjoy the sound of the waves directly above you. After you let go of the lever, the disc will rise back up and you should once again be able to open the lid and add more material.

    Be careful not to overfill the compactor so that the resulting bags are extremely heavy. Generally two medium heavy bags make a good-sized bag. You can normally compact as much metal or plastics as you can fit in the bag.

    To retrieve your newly compacted bag of trash or recycling, make sure the compactor is idle and in its closed position. Kick the “v”-shaped lock into the open position (the whole machine will jump), and then hit the red lever. The cannister will slowly rise and you will be able to unload the now full bag of trash. Be sure to squeeze out all the air before tying it off, or you will have done work for nothing.

    Compacting Trash:

    You can compact all types of trash except for biohazard bags.

    Compacting Recycling:

    Never compact glass. It is easier to compact plastic bottles if the lids have been separated from the container, and it is much easier to compact tin cans if both the top and bottom lids have been removed. Tin cans are laid horizontally by hand into the compactor.

    Trash and Recycling Storage:

    In 2012, the two leftmost bins at the dump were used for storing trash and recycling. They are roughly the perfect size for fitting two stacks of bagsters, one in front of the other. They are also ideally located for retrieving the bagsters with the backhoe and then loading them into the trucks. Make sure the bagsters are oriented so that the straps are easy to access with the backhoe. One bin is reserved for trash only, and the other bin for recycling (cardboard, plastic, metals, and light paper and glass bags). The trash bagsters are covered with an upside down bagster each night to prevent seagulls and rats from getting into them (only partially effective). Bags of paper and glass are dumped into the green totes which are stored opposite the bins. Demo bags full of dirty (pressure treated wood, azek, plywood, painted wood, etc.) and clean or burnable wood (Kiln dried, hardwoods) are separated into different bagsters and stored a little further up along the same side as the green totes. It is very important that the dump area is kept clean and organized at all times.

    Important: Trash bagsters are always kept separate from food and luggage bagsters. The easiest way to do this is store the trash bagsters down at the dump or folded in the cement shed. Food bagsters stay on the boat or inside the coolers staged down at the end of the pier.

    Loading Trash & Recycling:

    To load trash into Gunther, pull the backhoe backwards into the dump. It can be very tight maneuvering the backhoe in and around the bins and the WUB deck so pay close attention to where your front and rear are. Gunther is pulled backwards into the dump after the hoe, and parked with enough space to easily maneuver the backhoe directly behind the truck, but not too much space so that it takes extra time to drive the backhoe back and forth. Lower the lift gate ALL the way to the ground. This is critical because you will be driving the hoe onto the gate, and if it is not down all the way, it will break. Ideally there are three members of truck crew loading trash: one driving the backhoe, one person inside the bins helping put the straps onto the forks, and one receiving the bagsters on the back of Gunther. The two members of truck crew not operating the hoe must wear hard hats. It is very important that eye contact and communication is maintained throughout the entire process so that no one is hurt. It is also key that the person driving the backhoe is skilled because maneuvering the forks and the hoe in such a tight space is challenging. You should be able to orient the backhoe facing the leftmost two bins (when facing them) and still narrowly miss hitting the corner and stairs of the WUB deck. Begin loading the bagsters one by one. The truck crew member handling the straps may at times have to be positioned in between the forks and then duck below them, so proceed with extreme caution. Make sure that truck crew member knows to use eye contact and the proper hand signals to direct the forks before making any sudden movements. Keeping the forks spread wide will ensure that the bagsters will be lifted as high as possible, making them easier to load. Drive the backhoe onto the lift gate before depositing the bagsters onto the bed of the truck. Make sure to CLEARLY call out that you are lowering the forks and make eye contact with the truck crew member on the back of Gunther. The truck crew member in Gunther drags the bagster to the front of the truck and stacks it if possible. Repeat this process until trash is completely loaded.

    If you have a lot of trash and recycling, you might need to employ a special trick called “just the tip.” This procedure is useful for getting a bagster extremely high (high enough to go on top of two stacked bagsters already in the truck or over the top of the closed liftgate). To do this, position the forks near the bagster so that the other truck crew member can place the strap closest to the backhoe so that it is stuck on the very tips of the forks. The forks are tilted slightly up and high enough up so that the strap stays in place. After that, the truck crew member will take the farther of the two straps and overlap the first strap onto the forks. Theoretically, the two straps will stay right on the tip of the forks, even when the bagster is lifted high into the air.

    Once you have all the trash loaded, exhalt in the fact that you have safely and effectively played real-life Tonka Trucks and drive the trash down to the pier where it can be unloaded onto the boat.