Camosun is striving to reduce the amount of landfill waste we generate each year, while also increasing our recycling and composting. Facilities Services and Office of Environmental Sustainability have partnered to pilot some changes to key areas at Interurban and Lansdowne campus.
Camosun offices will become ‘zero waste’ as of July 1, 2018
To support college-wide efforts to improve our waste diversion and recycling rates, Camosun custodians will stop collecting garbage and recyclables from individual offices. Please do your part and take your waste, compost and recycling to central sorting stations. This practice will help ensure that recyclables end up in the appropriate stream.
Not sure how to sort your recyclables? Find out what goes where and tips on reducing waste in your work area.
This simple but effective behaviour change will contribute to greater sustainability for the environment.
In 2016, our waste diversion rate was approximately 32%. However, we know that the majority of what we actually throw away can actually be recycled if diverted to the appropriate stream. Contamination of recycling and compost streams is a significant issue that prevents us from achieving a higher diversion rate.
While some ‘Zero Waste’ offices around our campuses have been using centralized recycle and garbage bins in common areas for some time now, we are ready to implement this change more broadly.
Why have individuals sort and deliver their own garbage to centralized stations?
- Case studies performed at businesses, universities and colleges have show that the amount of waste sent to landfills can be effectively reduced by the removal of under-desk garbage bins and the placement of sufficient and centralized recycling bins.
- Most items that we handle on a daily basis can be recycled; however, having a garbage bin so conveniently close provides a temptation not to recycle.
- Dealing with your own waste and recycling increases awareness of our own environmental impact and gets us really thinking about which bin an item should go in.
- More waste is recycled, sending less to landfill
- Less plastic bin bags used
- Less contamination
- Increased environmental awareness
- Improvement in employee health and awareness: Not only does having individuals sorting and delivering their own garbage actively reduce the amount of waste thrown out, it also provides the drive for staff to take a break from their desks. Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines suggest that staff take a break form their desks every 30 minutes to stretch muscles and relax eyes, and by walking to the centralized waste management center, you can successfully fulfill those guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I still keep my desk/ office waste and recycling containers?
Yes, waste and recycling containers are still available if required, but they will no longer be serviced by custodial staff. Instead, you will be responsible for bringing your own material to one of the common sorting stations (located in common areas and hallways) to separate the material into the appropriate streams.
What materials are considered waste and what can be recycled?
The Waste/ Recycling stations have easy to read signs on each bin that indicate what materials are accepted. Please visit the Camosun Sustainability website to get more information on proper sorting and waste disposal. To control odours and pests, all food waste and organic material should be disposed of in “compost” containers only.
Will the recycling and waste containers in our office common area/copy room continue to be serviced?
I no longer need or want my office/ desk waste and recycling containers, who do I contact to remove these?
Bill Christie, Facilities Services: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are these changes occurring?
To improve our recycling and waste diversion rates at Camosun College! Our 2016 diversion rate was 32% (and our 2014 diversion rate was only 41%). However, 94% of what we dispose of can be recycled or composted! We can do MUCH better. Our 2015 pilot project indicated that having individuals sort their own waste and recycling can achieve a higher waste diversion rate while also improve recycling awareness overall.
Camosun is also working to decrease its carbon footprint. Did you know that some of the most powerful greenhouse gases, like methane, are caused by the breakdown of landfill waste? Recycling requires far less energy and uses fewer natural resources than producing products from virgin sources. So increasing our waste diversion and enhancing our recycling program will result in a decrease of emissions associated with Camosun’s waste generation.
I have materials that are not accepted in any of the recycling stations on campus, where can I recycle them?
Visit the Recycling Council of British Columbia for information on what you can recycle and where to recycle it! There are many local depots that accept a variety of materials.
Who can I contact if I have further questions or concerns?
Camosun College's Sustainability Office: email@example.com
Get in touch
Tell us what you are doing in your office to get to zero waste. We'd love to hear!
Supervisor of Building Operations
Waste and Recycling
Learn more about what we're doing at Camosun about waste, recycling and compost.