October 23, 2018

By MELISSA HORTON

Conestoga College’s business management students brought some important environmental issues to the Doon campus the week of March 26. As part of environmental week at the college, students hosted a waste audit in the cafeteria in order to raise awareness about how much waste is put into the wrong bins.

“Right now we’re focusing on how to divert waste,” said Nour Hmedy, a first-year business management student.

According to Conestoga College’s 2016 Waste Audit and Waste Reduction Work Plan report, Conestoga achieved a 57 per cent waste diversion rate at the Doon campus alone, which is close to the current goal of 60 per cent.

“Our job is to communicate with other students,” Hmedy said.

Business management students were posted at various waste bins around the cafeteria, ready to answer any questions students had.

“I think waste is a really big issue on campus. This program today is to try to bring awareness and engage students in proper sorting,” said Margaret Baker, another first-year business management student.

With a large portion of the waste being thrown into the wrong bins, a lot of waste that could be recycled or composted ends up in the landfill. In fact, over 30 per cent of the waste thrown into the garbage bins could be recycled or composted.

However, the waste audit was not just about getting the word out to students, it was part of something even bigger than the amount of waste that could be reused.

“We are participating in the Carbon Cleanse Waste Challenge. We are competing with other businesses and institutions in the region,” Baker said.

The Regional Sustainability Initiative’s Carbon Cleanse 2018 is a competition between businesses and institutions, with each of them competing in weekly themed challenges. There are four themes in total: water, waste, energy and commuting. Points are accumulated by each institution’s or businesses’ involvement in challenges as well as any challenges they create themselves. Currently Conestoga ranks sixth on the leaderboard out of 18.

Students were asked to tweet about the event and sign a document saying they would be more mindful when discarding waste.

“We are asking people to take a pledge to sort and recycle responsibly. It helps people and they feel empowered to do so,” Baker said.

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The Carbon Cleanse Challenge ended on April 6. For more information on this initiative and others, visit www.sustainablewaterlooregion.ca.

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