posted on Nov. 2: Recycling is back on campus


The message is simple – sort and save for Mac's sake!

That's the slogan you will see on new recycling containers strategically located in outdoor locations and in campus buildings.

Recycling was re-instated yesterday when students, faculty and staff participated in the first annual campus clean up day. The event was organized jointly by the physical plant department and the McMaster Students Union (MSU).

Outdoor containers have been placed first and the inside containers will be added over the next two to three weeks after consultation with staff to determine the best locations, said Jan Callfas, of physical plant.

The new recycling program and campus clean up are just the beginning of a renewed focus on environmental issues at the University. A University environmental committee has been established and will be making recommendations to the Board of Governors as part of the overall master plan process.

The committee, in the early stages of its work, is establishing terms of reference and looking at policies and guidelines from other universities and organizations across the country.

Karen Belaire, vice-president administration, said: “Recycling on campus is important to all of us. When the fire department made us aware of the potential hazards of our old recycling containers we wanted to ensure that whatever we replaced the old containers with would not only meet the fire codes, but be cost-effective and help to encourage people to recycle and reduce litter on campus.”

One overall goal of a recycling program is to reduce the amount of waste diverted to landfill sites.

The new containers, with clearly marked sections, will accommodate regular garbage, paper (all types with the exception of cardboard), glass and metal. The new program saves the cost of tipping fees charged to the University and will bring in revenue through the sale of recyclable materials.

Callfas said her department wants to conduct a waste audit over the next year to establish baselines against which diversion rates can be measured. “We need to show, in a tangible way, that we are making progress,” she said.

The McMaster Students Union is enthusiastically supporting the new program.

MSU president Sam Minniti said students are happy to see the recycling program re-instated. “We will do whatever we can to co-operate with the University, not just on recycling but other environmental issues as well.”

When installation is complete there will be 140 containers inside and out. Callfas said they will be emptied every day but there will be no change to the bi-weekly waste pick up from offices in campus facilities.

“We are asking everyone to continue the current practice that if your waste paper basket is full before a scheduled collection day that you empty your waste in the appropriate section of the new containers,” Callfas said.

The University has contracted with OMG Ltd. to provide the containers. The agreement allows for advertising to be placed on the containers, which means the recycling program will run at no cost to the University. The University will use some of the advertising space to promote the recyling program.