Josh Davis throws paper cup in paper recycling binBusiness student Josh Davis makes use of the sorting station for recyclables in the student centre cafeteria.

Organic waste pilot program aims to reduce landfill use

Buying only the food you need, using what you already have, and composting what’s left is the message behind a new “Zero Waste to Landfill” pilot project at the University of Windsor.

The campaign is intended both to educate the campus community on how it can support sustainability efforts and to provide tangible opportunities to put these new habits into practice with an organic recycling bin program, says Nadia Harduar, the University’s first-ever sustainability officer.

In a waste audit conducted by Facility Services in November 2022, nearly 50 per cent of what was collected was organic material sent to the landfill.

“Despite well-established recycling practices that have been in place for many years we knew we could do better, especially in the area of composting,” Harduar says. “We really needed to start thinking differently about how we use food and how the choices we make everyday can have a significant impact on the environment.”

To that end, the University has begun a six-month organics waste collection pilot program which began in all kitchen areas and has expanded to front-facing public areas on campus.

During this pilot period, waste collected will be converted through an anerobic and biogas process into electricity fed back to the grid, or as biogas to fuel trucks. Remaining residual material can then be returned to the earth as compost.

Harduar says members of the campus community will have a vital role to play in supporting sustainability goals and can expect to see additional information and education opportunities over the next six months.