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Green2Go Recycle Station Wins Jackson Award

December 6, 2019

By Julie Bonette and Catha Mayor Lamm

A team of undergraduate students designed Green2Go return stations to encourage faster and higher return rates of Dartmouth's reusable food containers. The project earned this term's Phillip R. Jackson Award for the best overall performance in ENGS 21: Introduction to Engineering.

The members of the winning team, selected from more than a dozen groups, are: Clyde (Sebastian) Logue ’22, Christopher Connors ’21, Seamus Hall ’20, Jenna Lee ’22, and Maxwell Holden ’22. The team’s TA was Peter Unger ’20 and their instructor was Lee Schuette, manager of operations of Thayer’s Machine Shop.

The Green2Go program was piloted by Dartmouth student Madison Sobol ’18 in the summer of 2016 and has since been adopted campus-wide to reduce plastic waste from Dartmouth’s dining halls. Dartmouth Dining Services (DDS) recommends returning the containers within two days to help keep them sanitary, but, according to the students, many find it inconvenient to return the containers within that time. 

“This is an issue for Dartmouth Dining because once those [contaminated or damaged] containers are returned, they have to be thrown out in the landfill,” said Logue. “So, it sort of defeats the sustainability aspect of the whole system.”

In fact, the group's final report stated, “The lack of a convenient Green2Go return system causes students to refrain from using it, leading to DDS re-purchasing 24% of their container fleet at the start of every term and defeating the purpose of waste reduction and sustainability at Dartmouth.” 

To solve this problem, the team modified an existing trash can to create additional autonomous collection locations so that students can return their containers more quickly and easily. The units are compatible with industrial trash cans currently used on campus and are equipped with a barcode scanner and locking system to keep unwanted trash and recycling out.

“We think we would greatly increase the speed and the efficiency with which students return these containers, resulting in increased sustainability,” said Logue.

The team is still prototyping their idea, but were told by Dartmouth Dining that the idea has potential and may be implemented on campus.

The Jackson Award, named after and established by the former Thayer Board of Advisors member, is given each quarter by a review board which applies the following criteria: