Sustainability Office

Sustainable Queen's
Sustainable Queen's

Does Queen's recycle?
Yes, Queen’s University does recycle. Multi-stream recycling stations are found campus wide for the Queen’s community to properly dispose of their garbage, recycling and organics. Custodial staff remove recycling from recycling stations and sort it into exterior containers for pick up by Waste Management.  Did you know that one piece of garbage in a recycling container means the whole bag has to be redirected to landfill? 

What happens if recycling is contaminated with waste items?

When a custodian removes a bag of paper, cans/glass/plastic recycling or organics, and it contains more than 10% of garbage then the whole bag of recycling must go to waste. The recycling facility will not accept contaminated recycling as these items are difficult to recycle and find buyers for.

Is Queen's part of the municipal recycling system?
Queen’s is not part of the municipal recycling system, the university is part of the ICI sector (industrial, commercial, institutional).

Why doesn't Queen's recycle the same as the city?
The municipality of Kingston and Queen’s University are guided by different legislation. The City has its own recycling facility (KARC) while the university uses a contracted waste hauler to remove waste and recycling from the campus.  However, the two systems are very similar and we work to make the differences clear to the Queen’s and Kingston community.

Where does our waste go?
Organic material collected from Queen’s composting program is sent to Tomlinson Organics in Joyceville, Ontario where it is broken down by their composting process and then sold as compost for gardens and farms. Recycling materials from Queen’s are collected and sent to Brockville Waste Management Transfer Station.

Why are coffee cups and plastic bags no longer recyclable?
Coffee cups have a wax or plastic coating on them so that they can hold hot liquid.This coating prevents the cups being broken down into pulp for paper recycling. In addition, to-go coffee cups are often used as as mini garbage cans and contain all kinds of items (banana peel, wrappers, napkins), this results in contamination of the recycling stream. To properly recycle a coffee cup, place the lid in the Cans, Glass and Plastic container, the cardboard sleeve in the Mixed Paper container and the cup in the Landfill container. Plastic grocery bags are no longer acceptable in recycling streams, because they are very difficult to recycle into new materials. Plastic bags require a specific recycling process and there is little market demand for this item.  Say no to plastic bags and choose to carry a reusable bag.

How much waste does Queen's generate annually?
2400 MT of waste and 2300 MT of recycling.

Why is it important to compost?

Composting has many environmental benefits including conserving landfill space, improving soil quality and keeps organic material out of landfill.  When organic material sits in a landfill and is not properly turned and processed (like compost is) it releases methane, a very strong and detrimental greenhouse gas.

How do I deal with hazardous waste disposal?

Visit the Environmental Health and Safety website for more information what counts as hazardous waste, how to deal with hazardous waste, and the hazardous waste disposal schedule.

What is the Waste Wizard app?

The Waste Wizard app is a mobile app available for download from Google Play or the App Store that was created to help the Queen’s community better sort their waste. The app is structured as a look-up tool, similar to the City of Kingston’s Waste Look Up Tool. Users can search an item and the app will tell them how to properly dispose of it. The App is also populated with sustainability related events on campus such as various conferences, learning sessions, events and important reminders.  Download the app today!