Campus expands its recycling programs

A couple of Trinity Western University students are making the campus greener, and it started with recycling a Township program for food and organic waste.

The Township Green Can program has provided a template for TWU’s new recycling initiatives.

And credit goes to two Environmental Studies students.

Both fourth-year student Jennifer Rumley and third-year student Tanya Drouillard saw the need for the campus to get more involved in organic waste diversion although initially, neither knew of the other’s efforts.

A life-long Langley resident, Rumley, who will graduate this spring with a BSc in Environmental Studies, was familiar with the Township of Langley’s Green Can program for residential properties.

“I thought, ‘why can’t we do something like this on campus,’” she said.

Over the summer, she sent an email inquiry to the Township Engineering Department. 

“I asked if the Township could partner with TWU to help implement a similar recycling program to the one they already had in place.” 

Drouillard, an Abbotsford resident who worked part-time in the Township’s Solid Waste Department, was thinking along similar lines.

When Drouillard broached the subject with her Township co-workers, she learned of Rumley’s inquiry; by mid-summer, a committee, which included representatives from TWU and its food services supplier, Sodexo, as well as from the Township, was formed.

“Jennifer and Tanya showed great initiative,” said Krista Daniszewski, who serves as the Township solid waste coordinator. “They wasted no time in getting things moving along for the university.”

The university’s waste and recycling services are still contracted out but what’s changed is how much waste goes into the landfill now that so much more is being diverted.

The Township helped with expertise and providing a template for the program so TWU didn’t have to start from the ground up.

As well the Township and Metro Vancouver helped with a waste audit at TWU to provide data on just how much waste could be recycled or diverted and the kinds of waste being produced.

With Sodexo’s cooperation, the project’s first phase, diverting back-of-house organic waste (food waste, paper towels, etc.) from the campus’ main food outlets, began last October.

The program is still relatively new but it’s estimated that to the end of December 2013, there’s been more than 2,000 gallons of organic material diverted.

This month, phase two rolls out: front-of-house organic waste collection in the main food outlets. By the end of 2014, the entire campus, including student apartments and dorms, will be participating.

It’s not just organic waste that will be diverted from the landfill.

New, clearly marked receptacles will help students, staff, and faculty recycle everything possible, from organic waste and paper products to refundable and non-refundable containers.

“It’s always better to have corporations and organizations, like TWU, get involved in advance of Metro Vancouver’s upcoming 2015 landfill ban on compostable organics,” said Daniszewski.

She also helped Langley School District #35 implement an organic waste collection program and said there are various efforts to help meet Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Challenge.

“We have a volunteer program for condos,” she explained about the Green Ambassadors program.

As well institutions can consult her for guidance on waste and recycling issues.

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