The challenge was simple: show the most improvement in properly sorting your college’s garbage, recycling and compost and win.
Gzowski College walked away with the prize – an Eco-certificate and a 'No Trash Bash' held in their cafeteria – following Trent's first annual Cafeteria Waste Challenge which took place March 16-23, 2015 in the Otonabee, Gzowski, Champlain, and Lady Eaton College dining halls.
The competition turned students into waste warriors, using recycling and composting as their munitions to help protect our planet from garbage in landfills and in our oceans.
Most of what gets thrown into the garbage can be diverted from the landfill by proper sorting into either paper or container recycling and is often compostable. To get a sense of how much of this diversion is happening in the cafeterias, student volunteers conducted a waste audit in February. Across all cafeterias, between 50 and 92% of what was put in the garbage could have been recycled or composted. Organizers of the challenge felt we could do better than that!
“Striving to live more sustainability requires collective and continuous action. We can all be waste warriors every day by properly sorting our recyclables and compost and encouraging others to do the same. Every correctly sorted item that is diverted from a landfill is a step toward achieving a more sustainable Trent,” says Lauren Banks, GSA, and Anisah Madden, food services sustainability committee coordinator.
With the help of updated signs and improved infrastructure at the resource recovery stations in all cafeterias, an outreach campaign by students and the Community Living Peterborough Blue Boxing Team, and the actions of student waste warriors, the cafeterias in OC, LEC and Gzowski all improved their sorting of recyclables and compost in the second audit, done in March.
Gzowski showed an incredible improvement in their sorting of recyclables by over 30%, winning the challenge by a landslide. To celebrate this victory, Gzowski had a No Trash Bash in its dining hall on with drinks, snacks, games and prizes. Everyone was welcomed in celebrating Gzowski's sustainability achievement.
This Challenge was supported by the Food Services Sustainability Committee, Sustainable Trent, Chartwells, TCSA, TGSA, the Sustainability Office, The Blue Boxing Team from Community Living Peterborough, and all the student volunteers.
To read the Waste Audit Report, and find out more, visit http://www.trentu.ca/foodconsultation/documents.php