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Waste Reduction Week 2020

Queen’s University recognizes National Waste Reduction Week, October 19 – 25, an initiative that focuses on the principles of circular economy, resource efficiency, and waste reduction. The primary goal is to celebrate our environmental efforts and achievements while encouraging new ideas and solutions. The celebratory nature of the campaign aims to motivate learning and behavioural change.

With changes in global recycling markets, Queen’s University has seen a drop in the annual waste diversion rate from 50 per cent in 2017 to 33 per cent in 2018.  While this change is significant, it reflects an overall reduction in campus waste streams.  The total waste generated by the university in 2017 was 4100 MT compared to 3600 MT in 2018.

The Sustainability Office has developed a number of initiatives to help create more awareness of the campus recycling programs. They have developed new signage in partnership with Hospitality Services that uses images of items sold in campus retail outlets. These posters provide clear images of accepted recycling materials for the campus community. 

Another useful tool implemented by the Sustainability Office is the Waste Wizard app. This waste look-up tool is a quick reference for students, staff, and faculty who are unsure of how to recycle an item.  The Sustainability Office has also developed a Recycling Learning Module to help educate the campus community on recycling; the module will be released later this year.

To help the recycling program be successful, there are a few things the Queen’s community can keep in mind for when they return to campus. Put waste in its place and not in the recycling collections. Ensure recycling is clean and not contaminated with food. Place only food and compostable to-go products in the organics bins on campus.  Choose reusable coffee cups, water bottles, and cutlery instead of single-use to-go items.

For more information on how you can reduce your waste, visit the Waste Reduction Week website.  The site also has tips for using social media to raise awareness about the importance of waste reduction.