By Kristy Koehler, September 12 2019—
If you’re having trouble finding a garbage can in MacHall, it’s because there’s a new waste diversion system in place.
Two waste diversion tables are now located in strategic places in MacHall, and are the first component of the new system. A composter that creates compost starter is the second.
“MacHall is one of the busiest places on campus and as a result, is one of the buildings that generates the most waste on campus,” said Omer Mansoor, Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance. “As building managers, it’s our responsibility to be champions and leaders in sustainability. Introducing these waste diversion tables will hopefully be one way we can achieve an increase in diversion rates.”
Students come up to the table, drop off their waste and trained professional staff will sort it into one of four bins — trash, beverage containers, mixed recyclables and compostables. The first three are taken to the City and dealt with there while compostables go down to the composter in MacHall.
The composter makes a compost starter and Mansoor says this can be used in the campus community kitchen and other green spaces on campus.
Mansoor says attempts in the past to increase diversion rates — such as having educators at the bins or changing signage —were unsuccessful. This new system is a one-year pilot project aimed at achieving a higher rate of waste diversion.
“Hopefully after a year, we’ll have a lot more data to plan next steps,” he said.
One of the tables — the one near the microwaves — is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to accommodate the lunch rush and Mansoor says the process of sorting the waste is quick, so a backlog shouldn’t occur, even when MacHall is packed.