University of Calgary

RecycleMania update: Less garbage, more organic collection

UToday HomeMarch 14, 2013

By Anna Nowaczyk

From left: Nasrin Pak, Michele Malison, Emily MacPhail, Emma Cook-Clarke, Janice Cook, Amy Glassman and Elise Hetu are competing agakinst each other in the Clean Bin Challenge. Photo by Gladys NuñezFrom left: Nasrin Pak, Michele Malison, Emily MacPhail, Emma Cook-Clarke, Janice Cook, Amy Glassman and Elise Hetu are competing agakinst each other in the Clean Bin Challenge.Photo by Gladys NuñezThis year’s RecycleMania Tournament is paying dividends as the campus steps up to reduce waste and advocate for sustainable consumer choices.

The three initiatives at the University of Calgary include the Clean Bin Challenge, Photocopier Challenge, and education programs on recycling, eating ethically and waste-free dining.

The Clean Bin Challenge kicked off on Feb. 27 with five students, two staff and one faculty member brave enough to try and live waste-free for one month and abstain from purchasing material goods.

“What I have noticed during this first week of the Clean Bin Challenge is my increased awareness of all my environmental choices – not just waste, but also water use and electricity use,” says contestant and Kinesiology professor Janice Cook.

Don’t miss the wrap-up of this challenge on March 26 at 7 p.m. in the NUTV studio (MSC 315) where contestants will weigh all the garbage they’ve collected and reflect on their experiences followed by a screening of the movie No Impact Man. Watch the trailer here.

Sustainability Street Team volunteers Tendol Nepali, left, and Zhengyang Pan help students in the Dining Centre properly sort their waste. Photo by Amy GlassmanSustainability Street Team volunteers Tendol Nepali, left, and Zhengyang Pan help students in the Dining Centre properly sort their waste. Photo by Amy GlassmanAlso underway is the third annual Photocopier Challenge where SustainabilityON Coordinators have been encouraging staff across campus to use less paper.

Baselines for pages printed were calculated on 66 participating Xerox machines and co-ordinators have been measuring weekly reductions. The group to achieve the greatest reduction from their photocopiers baseline will win bragging rights and a package of green office supplies. Final results from the six-week challenge will be announced in UToday at the beginning of April.

In the Dining Centre, student volunteers from the Sustainability Street Team have been actively educating campus members on ethical eating choices, waste-free dining options and sustainable living. Watch for them on Monday and Thursday evenings from 5 to 6:30 until March 28.

Street Team volunteers have also been manning compost and recycling bin stations in Mac Hall to help campus members sort their waste. The Students’ Union has hired compost educators to deliver a similar program in MacEwan Hall until the end of this semester.

Dishwashing supervisor Dan Humphries in the Dining Centre acknowledges face-to-face interactions are key when it comes to getting people to change their habits around waste disposal.

Sustainability Street Team volunteers Tendol Nepali, left, and Zhengyang Pan help students in the Dining Centre properly sort their waste. Photo by Amy GlassmanSustainability Street Team Volunteers Yuwen Duan and Bingying Xie help to handout free binders to students in Science Theatres. Photo by Amy Glassman“Students are often so busy that they don’t take the time to read the signs posted on the bins. I try to let as many students as possible know what goes in each bin, but it is difficult for me to catch everyone,” says Dan Humphries.

Last but not least, Street Team volunteers gave away a whopping 46 boxes of unwanted office supplies and electronics to the campus community for reuse on Feb. 28 and March 1.

So far these events have contributed to a campus-wide waste reduction of 9.5 per cent and a 24 per cent increase in organics collection. Full results can be found here.

Students interested in volunteering with the Sustainability Street Team can sign up online at www.ucalgary.ca/sustainability/street_team

For more stories on how students, staff and faculty are stepping up together to turn SustainabilityON, or to learn how you can become involved, visit www.ucalgary.ca/sustainability

 

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