A detailed waste audit that studied the composition of the University’s solid non-hazardous waste was conducted through Physical Plant Services in March 2005. It found that paper and food waste remained the largest components of the campus’s landfill waste stream.
The audit was held during the week of Monday March 7, 2005, a routine academic period when classes were in session and the campus population was at a peak. Garbage collection for the audit started on Saturday March 5 th so that there was material available for sorting on the Monday. Only a portion of the University’s overall garbage was studied. A sampling of waste was collected from selected building areas that represented the basic campus activities. Approximately 8.4% of the campus’s total landfill waste stream was examined in the study during that week.
The quantity and type of waste produced by Queen’s fluctuates daily and seasonally. Therefore, the results from this audit present only a general snapshot view of the campus waste sent to landfill. Although not a tightly controlled scientific study, the information it produced can be used to make rough estimations on the University’s waste diversion rate, success of the diversion initiatives and help identify where diversion activities could be improved.
The study provides comparable data to that gathered in similar studies in 1992 and 1994. Some of the differences from previous studies to note are that the 2005 audit includes:
Summary of Study Findings
Food waste continues to be the second largest waste component and will continue to be so until an alternative disposal method is found. The majority of this waste came from Leonard Kitchen with 85% of it composed of uneaten food (i.e. plate scrapings).
The quantity of glass and plastics increased slightly from the previous audits with only a small portion recyclable in the Queen’s program. Two thirds of the glass found was lab glass. Approximately 60% of the plastic consisted of stretch wrap, film and other plastics.