By Communications Staff
The Sustainability Office and the Alma Mater Society (AMS) have partnered to bring organics composting to the student life areas of the John Deutsch University Centre and the Queen’s Centre. Newly purchased waste containers, including green compost bins, match the colour coding of the recycling containers used by the City of Kingston.
The new containers will be distributed throughout the buildings during Waste Reduction Week, which runs from Oct. 21 – 27.
“This project has been a long time coming and the AMS is thrilled to be instrumental in finally making it happen,” says Colin Robinson, AMS Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainability. “We hope to see tangible increases in waste diversion and believe that this program can serve as a pilot, providing valuable information about how to best develop a campus-wide organics program in the future.”
Llynwen Osborne, Queen’s Waste Diversion Coordinator, says that the composting program and the new waste bins aim to increase the university’s waste diversion rate.
“By diverting organic waste from the university’s general waste stream we will help reduce what ends up in landfills,” says Ms. Osborne. “The new bins will also help people clearly identify what type of waste goes where.”
While waste diversion is an important strategy to reduce what ends up in landfill, waste reduction remains the best way to manage campus waste. One such reduction strategy undertaken by the university last year is the decision to ban the sale of bottled water on campus and install bottle fill stations. As of August this year, the bottle fill stations have tracked a total plastic water bottle avoidance of 530,000.
In addition, Food Services has recorded a total reduction in bottled beverage sales of 146,355 units during the first year of the bottled water ban. This reduction is across all bottled beverage products, not only water, with soda, juice and vitamin water sales also declining.
“Despite the concerns that the lack of bottled water on campus would potentially encourage consumption of other, less healthy products, the campus has instead embraced the new bottle filling stations and are making good use of reusable bottles for water,” commented Aaron Ball, Sustainability Manager.
Waste diversion and reduction initiatives are the key to reducing the amount of waste the campus produces and increasing the university’s waste diversion rate which last year reached 48%. For more information about how you can Reduce, Reuse and Recycle on campus visit the Sustainability Office website.