Tuesday, November 25, 2014


A short post today about trash.The USAP Waste Management group ships back over 300 containers of waste to the US each year. Of that waste, over 65% is recycled. In order to achieve such a high rate of recycling all waste/trash must be separated. There are over 20 different categories of waste - that's a lot to remember. Everyone has to take a training class at the start of their time at McMurdo about the waste system - if you forget what to do, you can consult the Trash Matrix.

The trash bins in Building 155 (which contains the Galley)
 The above photo shows bins for:
  • Light Metal
  • Fabric
  • Food Waste (which is blocked as there is a food waste bin around the corner)
  • Skua - this is where you put things you think others may want e.g. speakers for a small stereo
  • Batteries
  • Aerosol spray cans
  • Empty aluminum/aluminium cans, preferably not crushed at McMurdo, but crushed if at a field camp or South Pole station
  • Paper Towels - used for drying hands (only)
  • Mixed Paper e.g. newspaper or magazine
  • Glass - not broken e.g. wine bottles
  • Plastic - i.e. plastic that has a "recycle" symbol on it (category 1-7)

The bins outside our lab space in the Crary Lab

 Outside our lab we have:

  • A small bin for batteries which is behind the Lab Glass bin 
  • Lab Glass Only (e.g. test tubes, beakers and other science glassware)
  • Mixed paper
  • Glass (ordinary glass, not broken)
  • Aluminum/Aluminium cans
  • Light metal
  • Plastic
  • Non-recyclables (air filters, pens, broken glass etc.)
  • Lab debris (lab gloves, tubes, items with chemical residue)
Each bin also has a list of item not to be placed in it (you can see the big red "NO" in each sign - for example you should not put welding rods or wire in the Light Metal bin or brown corrugated cardboard in the Mixed Paper bin (such cardboard has its own category). It feels like there are always multiple trash bins in every room.