Recycling and Waste Management
The 2007 University of Guelph Solid Waste Reduction Work Plan aims to divert 60 per cent of our waste from landfill by the year 2010 in accordance with Ontario's provincial goal. (Currently 45 per cent of Guelph’s waste is diverted from landfill.)
An enhanced recycling program goes beyond the standard blue box items to also include batteries, compost, furniture, light bulbs and lamps, manure, soil and plants, scrap metal, transparencies, wood and yard waste, electronic waste. The Sustainability Office arranges for the exchange of surplus materials, such computers, furniture, office supplies or lab equipment.
Hospitality Services actively works to reduce waste at campus dining halls and cafeterias. Food waste is reduced through a points system for meal plans (instead of all you can eat) that discourages excessive purchasing and waste. Excess foodstuffs are donated when possible to community shelters. The main dining halls have a washable dishware system that allows students to take out food using china, plastic cups and stainless cutlery, which are collected daily for washing from stations in each residence. Bulk products are used whenever possible. Biodegradable products are used as much as possible. There are also incentives for customers who bring their own reusable dishes to food service operations, some of which have wash stations with dish soap. Reusable dishes are also available at cost. Hospitality Services offers programs and incentives that encourage sustainability in campus food service locations (e.g. offering a discount for using a reusable mug/dishes).
Move-Out Madness is a program to help U of G students dispose of extra food, clothing, household and bulk items at the end of the semester. Proceeds go to the Guelph Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and other organizations.
Guelph’s tendering process for hazardous waste removal requires companies to meet a minimum standard of environmental stewardship with respect to the handling, storage and disposal of hazardous waste originating from U of G-owned properties. The University controls the process from cradle-to-grave, ensuring that only required and permitted material is brought on to campus and that any residual product deemed to be waste is either recycled or destroyed, preventing the potential for environmental contamination due to uncontrolled external influences.
Fluorescent bulbs and bulbs containing mercury and other heavy metals have their hazardous products removed and all parts recycled. The majority of solvent and oil wastes are sent to a cement plant in the U.S. for incineration and use as fuel for the cement-making process. Batteries are sent to a recycling plant in Barrie for recycling into new batteries. Waste kitchen frying oils and grease are reclaimed and used for biodiesel production. U of G has a state-of-the-art chemical management centre that allows for long-term storage, bulking and delay-and-decay processes to minimize the need for handling and frequent transportation of materials to other storage facilities.
For more information about this report or sustainability initiatives at the University of Guelph, please contact: