BY PETER SWART
Students in Conestoga’s sustainable business management program were hoping for gold in the Carbon Cleanse Challenge which took place across the region last month.
Paul Cochrane, Conestoga’s waste diversion/sustainability co-ordinator, said the challenge was a way for organizations to lessen their negative impact on the environment.
“The Carbon Cleanse Challenge is a four-week challenge in which various organizations and the Region of Waterloo participate to help mitigate their impacts on global climate change,” he said.
Conestoga was one of many organizations in the region participating in the challenge; others included AET Group, Diva International and RJC Engineers.
The students competed for the title of the region’s sustainability champion. Although, there was no prize aside from bragging rights, Tony Sasso, the manager of utilities for sustainability in Facilities Management, said the real prize goes to everyone.
“The environment will be winning and that’s the whole goal of the challenge,” he said.
The students worked hard in the hope of being named champion and in order to make the highest positive impact on global climate change in the region.
According to Cochrane, a group of students tweeted throughout the challenge in order to gain points towards becoming champion. Each time they tweeted some sort of activity that was specific to the challenge they got a point.
One of the activities was a pilot project created by Cochrane to address the issue of waste diversion and achieve their goal of a 60 per cent diversion rate.
Cochrane said the class acted as coaches where other students coming up to throw their garbage into the labelled waste bins were told which bins to deposit their garbage in, helping divert as much as they could from the landfill stream by increasing the recycling and composting rates.
They showed the impact of the project by having students put up a leaf on a “tree of sustainability.”
Cochrane said they measured the success of the project by the number of leaves on the tree, with one being put up each time waste was diverted from the landfill stream. He added on top of that they put up garbage bags to represent how many bags full of garbage they were able to prevent from reaching the landfill.
Keep an eye out on social media for coverage of the challenge by following the hashtag #CarbonCleanseWR or checking out the feed at @WRSusti.
The winner of the challenge was not announced by Spoke’s press deadline.