University of Calgary

‘2013 Eco Move-Out’ succeeds at slashing waste by almost 50%

UToday HomeJuly 4, 2013

By Elise Hetu

Someone’s trash is another’s treasure. Residents donated various items to Goodwill Industries instead of sending these perfectly useful items to the landfill.Someone’s trash is another’s treasure. Residents donated various items to Goodwill Industries instead of sending these perfectly useful items to the landfill. Photo by Adam Swertz Residence students reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill by nearly 34 per cent this spring as part of the Eco Move-Out, a new initiative that collects items to be recycled or donated for reuse. University of Calgary students competed against the University of Alberta in the Battle of Alberta, a competition to see which school could divert the most waste.

The University of Alberta won with a 58 per cent diversion rate, having conducted a pilot Eco Move-Out in 2012. The University of Calgary produced amazing results for the institution’s first Eco Move-Out.

Each year, about 2,100 students leave Calgary for the summer, unable to take items they’ve collected over the school year with them. Of the total 18,400 kilograms collected, 6,300 kg was recycled or sent for reuse. The overall amount of waste sent to landfill was reduced by almost 50 per cent from 2012 to 2013, an impressive achievement!

Not only did the initiative reduce the load of goods originally destined for the landfill, it benefitted organizations in the community. After the extensive process of collecting and analyzing the data, the results are:

  • 280 kg of non-perishable food went to the Campus Food Bank.
  • 3,370 kg of household goods, furniture, bedding and clothing went to Goodwill Industries, a not-for-profit organization that provides employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities while providing second-hand goods at very affordable prices.
  • 14 kg of used toiletries went to Clean the World Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that repurposes discarded soap and shampoo products and donates them for humanitarian purposes in order to prevent disease while diverting waste from the landfill. Clean the World already partners with Hotel Alma on campus.
  • 1,100 kg of electronics went to Top Flight Assets, an organization that refurbishes electronics for resale if possible or responsibly recycles electronics in poor condition.
  • 1,550 kg of plastic, metal, paper and cardboard was recycled.

GraphThis initiative was supported by Waste Management and the Students’ Union. The organizing parties, the Residence Students Association and Residence Services, have a lot to be proud of this year and are ready to take it to the next level for 2014. Watch out U of A!


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