May 5, 2011
An audit has revealed that 90 per cent of Queen's solid waste could be diverted away from landfill. Of that amount, 70 per cent of the waste was organic material, including food waste. While there is a program in place on campus to divert food waste generated by the dining halls, there remains a substantial amount of organic waste that is not currently diverted.
"It's a key indicator for us that we have the opportunity to capture some of the food waste that's being brought onto campus by students, staff and faculty in snacks and lunches," says Llynwen Osborne, Waste Coordinator. "We're going to be looking for ways to incorporate diversion of those materials into our waste removal program."
The purpose of the audit was to identity, quantify and analyze the composition of the waste generated by both main and west campuses, and to assess the effectiveness of current campus waste diversion initiatives. The last detailed waste audit was conducted by the University in 2005.
The recent audit revealed that Queen's is doing a better job of diverting papers, plastics and cans than it was in 2005.
Garbage collection for the waste audit took place on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27 from all waste containers on campus. The university's waste hauler collected more than 5,000 kilograms of waste from the campus and removed it to an off-site location for sorting. The study sampled university garbage collected from all buildings on campus and was therefore representative of annual campus operations.
As part of the continued drive to increase awareness around the issue of responsible waste disposal, Queen's also recently participated in Recyclemania, an international competition aimed at promoting waste reduction activities on university campuses.
For a summary of the waste audit results, visit the PPS Waste Services website.
The Sustainability Office has also created a brief survey to help guide future improvements to Queen's diversion programs. Click here to take the survey.