By JAKE DAVIDSON
Every year Conestoga College throws out over 200,000 kilos of trash.
In fact Conestoga throws out 6,546 kg a week for a total of 340,403 kg in 2010 which excludes materials collected for recycling and organics.
“In other words, that is about 23 kg per person per year,” said Jana Vodicka, environmental co-ordinator of Conestoga College.
The amount of trash thrown out improperly varies by campus, according to Vodicka, but she said on average, 13 per cent of recyclable and 57 per cent of compostable material is put in the garbage when it shouldn’t be. This includes things such as lids, wrappers and bottles.
When it comes to waste management one apple can spoil the whole bunch. According to the contract with Waste Management, the school is supposed to provide high quality product through a low contamination rate.
One plastic bottle in the organics causes the whole bin to become unacceptable for composting or recycling. If the housecleaning staff collects the waste and sees that the bins are contaminated they will treat it as garbage.
There aren’t enough staff members or time to pick recyclables out of the trash. That is why it is important to properly place papers, cans and plastic in the proper bin.
The recycling program is constantly improving thanks to increased awareness and education.
The school holds events such as the Waste Reduction Week Reusable Container Campaign and Earth Day event documentary screenings. Vodicka has even conducted online surveys to assess gaps on how the Conestoga staff and students communicate about the recycling/organic composting program.
Informative posters have been put up in all classrooms and above cafeteria bins as well as labels on the containers themselves.
According to Vodicka the college has an excellent composting program that offers collection of more items than even the Waterloo Region Green Bin program because it accepts coffee cups.
Organic compost is part of the four slot blue bins located in every cafeteria. Half of the school’s garbage is considered compostable so there is no reason all students, faculty and staff can’t do their part.