You’ve all heard the mantra, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, but what does that mean at WCC? What are WCC’s waste and recycling priorities, and how are we being measured?

WCC’s waste and resource management practices are governed by the principles set out in the Waste Hierarchy. The highest priority of the Waste Hierarchy, as detailed below, is waste prevention. Avoiding or reducing waste (even if it is reusable or recyclable) is WCC’s first goal.

 

WCC’s waste and resource management program tracks a number of key performance indicators that measure progress toward our goal to reduce the total waste we produce and the quantity of that waste we send to landfill. WCC currently has a Bronze rating in The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System “STARS” which is a program of The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education “aashe”

One of the key indicators STARS measures is the total annual waste generated by participating institutions. Breaking the cycle of increased waste production during periods of increased growth is challenging. All materials disposed of at WCC count toward our waste generation statistic whether we recycle them or not. In addition, any materials disposed of at WCC that were not generated here impact our waste generation rates.

Bearing all of the above in mind here are the top tips for waste prevention at WCC. These are based on campus observations and audits, many save money as well as waste, hopefully there is something for everyone!

  1. Trade/Industrial/Educational magazines, periodicals and junk mail
    1. Cancel any trade/industrial/educational magazines and periodicals that you don’t read.
    2. Switch to an electronic version of those you do read
    3. If you really want a paper version order one copy which can be shared within an office space rather than everyone getting a copy
    4. Unsubscribe from other junk mail
  2. Buying Gifts and Promotional Items
    1. Buy items that will actually be used
    2. If buying T-Shirts take care that the logo/message is something that will encourage people to wear it in future (how many promotional Ts do you have at home that you don’t wear?).
    3. Buy items that are made with recycled materials or have recycled content of at least 30%
    4. Buy items that have limited packaging
    5. Buy items that can be recycled at end of life
  3. Everyday Actions
    1. Use a refillable water bottle and/or coffee cup
    2. Use reusable bags, if you don’t have one with you and have use plastic make sure you reuse the plastic bag several times before eventually discarding it
    3. Use a Tupperware tub for snacks brought in from home rather than Ziploc-style bags
    4. Use ceramic plates and cups instead of disposable
    5. Use rechargeable batteries
    6. Use scrap paper instead of notebooks
    7. Don’t use 10 paper towels to dry your hands
  4. Mailings, Printing
    1. Only print if necessary, if you do need to print ensure its double sided
    2. Triple check your work before printing
    3. Set your printer to default double sided printing
    4. Have an accurate print count for your brochures, flyers, and posters so that you are not disposing of unused products
    5. Check WCC mailing lists; remove duplicates and out of date addresses
  5. Events/Operations/Projects
    1. Have an accurate count for food orders for events and meetings, do not over order and consider portion size.
    2. Establish and order an accurate amount of materials you’ll need for any project you undertake.
    3. For arts, crafts, construction, technical, mechanical, or culinary projects “measure twice cut once,” as the saying goes. Check your measurements carefully before cutting, sawing, sticking, or pouring.
    4. Do not order a bulk quantity of items to lower the unit price if you cannot realistically use that quantity.
    5. Build waste prevention into the planning stage of your projects and assignments