Organic Waste Test
The Auditing Committee is pulling all the stops to make Leacock and the AUS as
eco-friendly as possible! Over the course of the 2008-2009 school year, the
AUSEC Auditing Committee conducted an audit of the Leacock building in
consultation with the office of sustainability, with a focus on several
including washrooms, waste disposal, electricity use, and use of
investigated current practices such as the types of cleaning
products used by
cleaning staff, the sorting and labelling of garbage and recycling receptacles,
and the level of energy use of computers in this
This year, we plan to continue to audit waste as well as to assess the potential
impact of a new composting project.
Last Year's Waste Audit
The quantity of organic waste in the trash (found during the 2008-09 year)
has motivated us to attempt to divert the waste to a more productive end.
We are implementing a project that, finished at the end of November, will
provide a useful guide to full-scale organic waste removal.
From an initial waste contamination test done at the beginning of the month,
we got an idea of the total weight of organic waste to expect in Leacock
on a given random day. We've placed 6 waste bins on the first floor and basement
to reach the areas most frequented by students and extensively posted signs
to direct attention and redirect waste. Twice a week for the course of the
month, council members will record the weight and level of contamination to
inform the Office of Sustainability and others interested in organic waste at
McGill of the capacity for removal.
By the 4th Week of November, we hope to mount free-standing displays in
Leacock displaying the results of the test phase.
Last Year's Recycling Audit
What We Found:
- 344 disposable coffee cups were thrown out in Leacock garbages in ONE DAY!
- 6 re-usable Tupperware containers
- 1 computer cord and several batteries
- Way too many recyclable items! About 30-40% of the items disposed into the
waste stream in Leacock on this day could have been recycled.
- Pizza boxes
Some interesting things that we found: numerous FULL jam jars, a full lunch
(untouched, and in a recyclable container), a two hole punch (??), and a bag of
cut locks, among other things!
How We Can Improve:
- Carry a re-usable coffee mug to school. Some cafeterias will even give you a
discount on your coffee if you do!
- Wash and re-use your Tupperware whenever possible
All electronic waste, including cell phones, computers, and batteries, should
not be disposed of with the rest of your garbage because they can leach toxic
chemicals into the environment. Consult your local Eco-Quartier to learn what
to do with this waste.
Check for a recyclable symbol on an item before throwing it out; here in Montreal,
not only paper and aluminum products can be recycled, but also plastic bags,
milk cartons, and tetra-pak containers.
As long as your pizza boxes don't have grease/foodstuffs on them, they can be
recycled. This may mean throwing out the bottom half and recycling the top.
There was an excessive amount of paper waste that was thrown into the garbage
bins that could have been recycled. Unfortunately, once these have entered the
garbage they cannot be recycled!
Eat your jam?
What We Found:
Out of 5 large Green bins, we removed the equivalent of 1 bin of waste products
from the recycling.
Upon inspection of the blue bins in Leacock on the lower 3 floors 80% of the
paper/cardboard recycling was contaminated!
- 167 disposable fountain and coffee cups in one day
- Saran Wrap and Ziploc bags
How We Can Improve:
Not sure about what you can recycle in Montreal? Check out this
It is really important to avoid disposing of items for the waste stream in the
recycling because BFI instructs the cleaning staff that if there is only
one coffee cup or other disposable item in a recycling bin, all other
recyclable items in the bin must be thrown in the garbage.
Because of their interior wax coating, disposable coffee cups cannot be
recycled. The best solution? Carry a reusable mug or cup with you to school.
Unfortunately, all plastics that are labelled #6 like these cannot be recycled