Conestoga news

September 3, 2019 7:45 AM

Coffee cup recycling program launches on campus

Conestoga’s Facilities Management team has launched a new pilot program to support efficient recycling of coffee cups to help the college’s overall recycling and reduction efforts. The program involves the introduction of new recycling bins on campus specifically designed for the cups.

Conestoga College - Coffee cup recycling 2019.jpg
New coffee cup recycling bins on campus, introduced as part of a pilot program, are expected to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.

“I’m very excited about this pilot program and hope to see these bins well used,” said Rachel Lowe, Conestoga’s sustainability coordinator. “This program will allow the college to significantly reduce the number of coffee cups we send to landfill. In order to make this pilot program a success though we need them to be used by the college community.”

The bins have a three-slot system: one to pour out leftover coffee, one for the discarded cup and one for the lid. The coffee will be disposed of, the cups will be placed in the organics stream and the lids will be recycled appropriately.

The bins are located in the main building at Doon near Door 4 and in the atrium on the first floor. Bins will also be placed in the cafeterias at the Waterloo and Cambridge campuses.

“We have a problem with coffee cups because there is a lack of certainty about where to put them. Different municipalities have different ways to dispose of cups, so in some places it’s okay to place them with the plastics and metals, in other cities you must put them with paper, or in the organics,” explained Lowe.

“The Region of Waterloo wants them placed in the organics bins and that information isn’t widely known. When people are uncertain about where something goes, they usually place it in the garbage. Even if they were to put it in the paper or plastics recycling bins it would contaminate the load and have to be diverted to landfill instead.”

Lowe is the college’s first full-time sustainability coordinator and focuses on programs at the college to engage employees and students in waste diversion. She has been undertaking waste audits at all campuses and the launch of the new pilot program is just one goal to increase the college’s waste diversion numbers. She is currently working on a poster system for all campuses to help clear up confusion about what to place in each recycling bin.

Conestoga has a legislated goal to achieve and maintain at least a 60 per cent waste diversion rate. This is achieved through advancements and innovation in recycling and diversion programs; improving waste bin monitoring; ongoing education, promotion and community outreach; increases in capital towards the purchase of waste management technologies and improved diversion programs; and ongoing research and development into waste reduction best practices.

Contact Facilities Management for more information.