On your way to big meeting? Be sure to take out the trash
Some state workers will empty own cans to cut costs, increase recycling
This should get state employees talking trash.
Come Monday, about 20,000 state employees will be asked to start taking out their own trash.
The new miniMAX program is designed to save money and increase recycling by replacing traditional wastebaskets with a one-gallon minitrash box that will hang on the side of a larger recycling container.
The mini-bin is supposed to discourage employees from trashing what should be recycled. Employees also will be asked to empty their trash and recycling into centralized bins in their work areas.
“It makes you think of what you are throwing away,” said Dana Williams, the state’s director of facilities services. “Self-service also drives up recycling.”
At the same time, the Texas Facilities Commission is transitioning to daytime custodial crews instead of nighttime cleaning in state buildings under its direction.
Together, the changes are expected to save more than $1 million a year. Custodians will spend more time cleaning and less time emptying trash. Also, the facilities commission staff expects to cut utility bills by $500,000 because cleaning staff members won’t be turning on lights at night.
Vacuuming and other disruptive tasks will be done immediately before or after the workday.
The wastebaskets of state employees are being swapped out at night for the new miniMAX containers, which cost, collectively, $150,000. The new containers come with instructions, including frequently asked questions.
The trash duties shouldn’t take any time out of an employee’s workday, according to the handout.
“You can empty your bins when you get a drink, go to lunch, exiting the building, or whenever you need a stretch break,” according to the handout. It also suggests how to keep the plastic liners in place (binder clips are helpful) and how to keep the mini-bin from tipping over the recycling container.
Not all state employees are part of the program.
Buildings that house the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Teacher Retirement System, the Employee Retirement System and the Capitol are outside the control of the Texas Facilities Commission.
In other words, don’t expect Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst or House Speaker Joe Straus to be bagging their own trash anytime soon.
Custodian William Miller Jr. distributes some of the new recycling containers and mini-trash bins Monday.