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At Mason, Even the Dumpsters Are Green


A solar-powered trash receptacle on Mason's Fairfax Campus. Photo by Jason Jacks

Just ask Mason’s going green mascot, Gunston [2], and he (or is it she?) will tell you that Mason is going all out to save the planet. But solar-powered dumpsters?

Yes, they do exist. I found this little beauty parked outside the Eastern Shore residence hall on Mason’s Fairfax Campus.

According to Stephen Morehouse, director of construction in Mason’s Auxiliary Services, there is a similar disposal unit near the Hampton Roads residence hall, and the solar panels power the compactor mechanism found in each.

The two halls were outfitted with the specialized dumpsters, according to Morehouse, because the buildings were designed to be LEED certified [3] someday, meaning they were constructed using “green” building techniques.

But solar panels are not the only things that make these containers Earth-friendly. As the name implies, compactors smash the garbage, making additional room inside. And since the dumpsters can hold more trash, fewer trips by gas-guzzling trash trucks are needed to empty them.

Acquiring these green-as-can-be dumpsters, according to Morehouse, was a no-brainer.

“Mason’s commitment to reducing our carbon footprint made the choice fairly easy for us,” he said.