Our Actions and Goals

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
Sustainable Development Goals by the numbers:
[Line drawing of a recycling bin and the number 30%]
In 2021, 30% of Queen’s University waste was recycled.

Our goals in action

Research and innovation

Recovering value from waste plastic

The Open Plastic project led by Queen’s researchers is working on the development of novel microbiological technology to support the breakdown of plastic waste into marketable recycled products. This work will support the diversion of plastics away from landfills, saving Canada over $500 million a year and creating 40,000 future jobs in the clean technology industry.

Teaching and student life

[Line drawing of a bowl of salad]

Queen’s has the country’s first university-based Sustainability Chef, responsible for our environmentally friendly and always tasty food options.

It pays to dine sustainably

Sustainability is incorporated everywhere at Queen’s, including in all Hospitality Services’ food operations. The Housing and Ancillary Service's Sustainability Framework includes several initiatives that are effective in reducing waste while dining on campus, including the GOOD TO GO Reusable Container Initiative and Reusable Mug Program. Students, staff, and faculty members are incentivized to help combat single-use waste by saving money through participation in dining halls and retail food locations.

[Photo of students at Leonard Dining Hall]

Take less, waste less

Our Waste Audit Report prepared by GFL Environmental identified opportunities to improve our overall waste diversion rate and expand our recycling program. It also recommended that Queen’s continue to raise awareness and education about waste and recycling procedures on campus.

The university makes special efforts to promote the 3Rs. Queen’s Hospitality Services supports initiatives to help students, staff and employees Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

[Photo of waste diversion bins]

Community impact

[Line drawing of a single-use container and the number 25,210]

25,210 single-use containers were diverted from May 2021 through April 2022 through the GOOD TO GO reusable container initiative.

Extending product life

[Volunteers help students move out of Queen's residence buildings]

Mindful Move-out is an initiative supported by Queen’s and the City of Kingston which provides supports and resources to help students sustainably and responsibly donate, trade, and recycle items as they move out at the end of the academic year.

Queen’s has helped to donate almost 3,000 pounds of items from 2020-2021 to the Canadian Diabetes Association to help them raise funds for diabetes research.

80% of unused toiletries from Queen’s Event Services and the Donald Gordon Hotel & Conference Centre were donated from 2020-2021 to the Clean the World Foundation which provides at-risk populations around the world with the hygiene resources needed  to stay healthy.

Moving toward zero plastic waste

Our efforts to reduce plastic use continue to pay off. As a Bottled Water Free Campus we have minimized plastic bottle waste. Because we regularly track the amount of waste generated and recycled across our campus, we also know that our awareness and recycling programs have reduced the amount of waste produced at Queen’s and diverted large amounts of plastic waste from our city’s landfills.

Moving Toward Zero Plastic Waste

Administration and operations

[Line drawing of two water bottles behind a stop sign]

Our Bottled Water Free Campus initiatives remove almost 100,000 water bottles from circulation every year.

Respecting the environment in all we do

We believe we have a responsibility for the safety of the environment as a shared resource. As such, our Policy Statement on Environmental Management commits to exceeding all legislation and formal obligations for protecting the environment. The policy also aims to educate the university community about actions they can take to have the smallest possible impact on the environment.

[Photo of a lake in South Frontenac County]
Queen's Art of Research Submission: Nature's van Gogh by Hayden Wainwright, Graduate Student (Biology), South Frontenac County, Ontario 

Sustainability at your fingertips

Sustainable Queen's is a dynamic community, bringing together campus and Kingston partners pursuing climate action and sustainability efforts in all their forms. The Sustainable Queen’s website outlines our sustainability initiatives and includes various student resources, research, and reports.

Sustainable sourcing

Queen’s University strives to create a culture of sustainability on campus that influences the way we operate. Our Sustainable Procurement Guidelines highlight criteria for items that are routinely purchased on campus, within the context of existing purchasing agreements. It also recommends products that are currently available through existing Queen’s suppliers.

Sustainable dining

Queen’s Hospitality Services serve more than 3 million meals a year during regular operations to students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. They are committed to providing the highest quality, guest-centric food and experience while also meeting the needs of our diverse community in a sustainable and financially responsible way. Hospitality Services manages several initiatives across campus to integrate sustainability into their operations and make a positive impact on our university’s consumption needs. In 2021, they announced that all seafood served at campus dining locations will come from suppliers with sustainable practices recognized by  a third-party sustainable seafood certifier.

2022 Announcement

7th in the world
7th in the world

7th in the World

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

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