This week marks the 6th annual Waste Reduction Week in Canada. Since 2001, Waste Reduction Week in Canada has been organized by various non-governmental, and not for profit environmental groups across the country. The goal of Waste Reduction Week is to educate Canadians on waste statistics and provide helpful tips for reducing waste.
At UBC, you can celebrate and learn about ways to reduce your waste at the annual Sustainability Fair on October 18th between 11am to 3pm at the Student Union Building plaza. The fair will showcase the many sustainability initiatives taking place on campus, and help students get involved in positive change by signing the UBC Sustainability Pledge.
A walk by the front of the SUB will also allow you to see UBC Waste Management’s ‘garbage display’ – a week’s worth of garbage to help the UBC community visualize the amount of garbage that could potentially be diverted from the landfill through waste reduction methods. Waste Management has been quite successful in reducing the amount of waste that would be sent to GVRD landfills. In fact, more than 2,000 tonnes of garbage was diverted from the landfill in 2004-2005, despite a 24-percent increase in students from 1997-98. That’s a diversion rate of 42 percent, which means that UBC is diverting almost half of its garbage through composting and recycling methods!
One of the tough areas for waste reduction is in processing e-waste like old computers, batteries, etc. According to the GVRD, approximately 2,000 tonnes of computer equipment was disposed of in 2004, and only 11% of e-waste is actually recycled. For the most part, people just don’t know what to do with their e-waste, as it requires special processing and cannot be recycled through the regular blue bins.
There is good news for the UBC Community, as this week Waste Management will be introducing a new Special Items Recycling unit, to be located at the North basement entrance of the SUB. Now people will have a place to bring in those e-waste items that are difficult to dispose of. This recycling unit will accept recyclables such as: plastic bags, non-rechargeable batteries, rechargeable batteries and small e-waste items (e.g. CDs, DVDs, videos, cassettes, cell phones, computer mouses, etc.).
The easiest way to start reducing waste is to get yourself informed about the options and methods that you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Take a walk over to the SUB this week to check out the Sustainability Fair, or simply check out a few informative websites: