Zero Waste Stations

    • Birch Zero Waste Stations

      What bins are available in the Zero Waste Stations?

      The Zero Waste Stations include bins for organics, containers (functions the same as your household blue bin - including tin foil and hard plastics), refundables (beverage containers), mixed paper and landfill. Stations are available on most floors of every building, in centralized locations.

      I'm new to composting. What goes into the Organics stream?

      All food scraps, paper towel, Chartwells coffee cups (they’re biodegradable!) all Chartwells take out containers/ paper plates and cutlery (made of corn!), tea bags, coffee grounds, etc. 

      How do I know what goes in each bin?

      We have worked with the North Shore Recycling Program to create bright, interactive posters that display accepted items. The bins on campus are the same as your bins at home. We have also changed the signage from text to icons, which has proven more successful for quickly identifying what item goes where. We have customized the icons to include CapU cafeteria-specific items as well. Please check out the latest signage (see below), now around campus! To make it consistent, we are following Multi Material BC’s guidelines for recycling, and more information can be found at Most Lower Mainland municipalities are following similar guidelines, so the hope is that transition between home and campus practices are easy and straight forward.  

       Chartwells updated Signage

      What if I have something that doesn’t go in one of the Zero Waste bins?

      Our Shipping & Receiving area collects an abundance of other items, including batteries, cell phones, ink toners and cartridges, and soft plastics. Their collection area is located on the ground floor of the Arbutus building.

      Why the change?

      The creation of these zero waste centres was an indirect result of our 2013 Waste Audit, a campus-wide assessment of one day’s trash that underscored the need for more recycling of organics as well as other materials, and a result of suggestions from our BADM 218 and REC 245 class projects on Zero Waste.

      This system is increasingly important as Metro Vancouver imposed an organics disposal ban at the start of 2015. The ban includes a fine for violating the new rules (which started July 1, 2015), so the new stations will assist us in compliance.

      What are some of the benefits?

      Not only is the new system better for the environment, but sorting your waste also helps the university save money! Did you know organics are far less expensive to have picked up and taken off campus compared to landfill-bound waste? And once biodegraded, the compost can be reused instead of sitting in landfills.

      How often are the bins emptied?

      The bins are emptied based on demand. This can be daily or every other day, depending on the location. BEST Janitorial  is responsible for monitoring and assisting

      Why do we do Waste Audits?

      There is growing concern over space required for landfills, over consumption, air pollution associated with incinerators and the increasing amount of wasted food and plastic pollution in our marine environments. What are the social, environmental and economic costs of our throw-away society?

      Universities produce a tremendous amount of waste due to their large physical footprint, their complex infrastructure, food services, vehicle fleets, energy use and the number of people they serve. A waste audit is an opportunity to guide the improvement of waste management practices.

      The campus waste audits have become a key part of the curriculum, and a way to engage students from a variety of faculties across campus in hands-on learning. Through this ongoing research project, we aim to improve our waste management strategies at Cap and raise awareness about personal habits.

      Stay tuned for the next audit, coming October 20, 2015!

      What were the results of the past audits?

      Our previous waste audit showed us that the main components of our waste are organics (40%), plastics (17%) paper (9%), and 25.5 kgs of coffee cups. With the introduction of the Zero Waste Stations, the goal is to help make sorting waste easier, and we hope to see the improved accuracy of items in these bins.

      When we first started doing waste audits, what we sent to the landfill consisted of 69% organics. After last year’s audit, we reduced that down to 40%.  Our goal is to further reduce the amount of organics, from 40% to 25%, as we strive to meet the new legislation banning all organics from the landfill.

      Who is involved in the Zero Waste initiative?

      The Zero Waste Stations are a collaboration between Facilities and BEST Janitorial Services. Facilities is responsible for the set up and signage, while BEST empties the bins and makes sure they are clean. Everyone on campus plays an important role in the success of this program!

      Who picks up our refuse?

      Our waste services provider is Smithrite Ltd, and ABD takes our refundables.

      Where does the compost go after I put it in the bin?

      Smithrite takes our organics off campus to be turned into soil at Westcoast Instant Lawns Turf Farm in Richmond.