Recycling at Brock
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11:10
Universities are meant to be at the forefront of new ideas and practices. Unfortunately, many have noticed that Brock is a little behind when it comes to recycling.
When I started at Brock three years ago I was disappointed by the quality and quantity of their recycling program. There weren’t enough blue bins on campus and there was no organic waste program. I was, however, admittedly pleased that my residence (Village) had recycling. Thankfully, during my time at Brock, I’ve witnessed improvements to the recycling program and the introduction of an organic waste program. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Brock’s last Annual Waste Audit Report was in 2011. This report looked at the many recycling programs at Brock and analyzed Brock’s waste to determine the amount that was being diverted from landfills. Impressively, Brock had attained a 73 per cent diversion rate, well above the provincial Ministry of Environment guideline of 60 per cent, but under Brock’s own target amount of 95 per cent.
Unfortunately, from 2010 to 2011 our rate of diversion actually decreased 6 per cent, meaning more recyclable and compostable materials made their way into our garbage than the previous year. According to the 2011 Waste Audit Report, of the materials still being sent to landfills, organic waste was the largest component of the overall waste – at 50 per cent. Half of the garbage we sent to the landfill could have been composted. At every location on campus, organics were the highest percentage of waste in the garbage, with the exception of MacKenzie Chown Complex and the Day Care Centre’s highest percentage of waste being paper towel and diapers, respectively.
In an effort to improve on their organic waste program, Brock now has organic recycling bins available for department and faculty lounges and kitchens on campus. This program started as a trial in Schmon Tower in Fall 2011 and was introduced campus-wide in Spring 2012. You can now request for a green bin to be added to your area by contacting Custodial Services at x3508.
Although it is good to see such an initiative begin at Brock, I’m disappointed that it isn’t more encompassing. The 2011 Waste Audit Report made it very clear that organics were the main component of Brock’s waste that could be diverted from landfills. I would have liked to see green bins implemented in more locations on campus where they would be available for students to take advantage of. Especially in Isaac’s and Walker Complex where they, according to the report, do not contribute nearly as much organic waste to the compost collection program as the other cafeterias.
In addition, I would like to see further attempts to increase the amount of recyclable plastics, paper and glass that are diverted from Brock’s waste. From my own observations, I’ve found lecture halls to be a common source of improperly disposed of recyclables. All lecture halls that have garbage bins should also have recycling bins.
Finally, if your lecture hall does not have the proper bin please hold on to your recycling until you come across the correct receptacle. If everyone put in a little bit more effort Brock could actually reach its goal of diverting 95 per cent of waste.
To see Brock’s Annual Waste Audit Report please visit brocku.ca/webfm_send/254.