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In 1990, York University adopted a policy to achieve a 50% waste reduction by the year 2000. To meet this goal, Campus Services and Business Operations formalized a comprehensive, multi-faceted waste management and diversion program in the mid-1990s. The program experienced early success and, in response, a more ambitious goal was set to reach 65% solid waste recycling ratio by the year 2013. By the end of 2008 we were well on our way, having achieved a 58% recycling ratio. On June 7, 2010 the University launched its ZeroWaste program to build on existing waste diversion and green cleaning initiatives.

Some of the elements of the ZeroWaste program include:

  • All kitchenettes have been equipped with an organic waste container for all food scraps, which students, staff and faculty should use to throw away any organic waste.
  • Through the Green Cleaning initiative, offices are equipped with communal tri-bins and individual waste bins are emptied by the individual staff/faculty members who generate the waste. By becoming responsible for removing their own waste, individuals will have a greater awareness of the waste they produce. Custodial Services labour is reallocated to more important functions.
  • Stand alone garbage bins are being removed and replaced with more tri-bins in the interior and exterior of campus.
  • In-ground tri-bins will increasingly be used around the exterior of campus, because they have a larger capacity and use gravity compaction, requiring less frequent emptying.
  • More outdoor organic digesters and battery recycling bin will be located around campus to allow for greater convenience. See the Waste Diversion Map for locations.
  • New types of materials are being captured for recycling, in participation with Stewardship Ontario and through other diversion programs.
  • With assistance from Printing Services, clearer labels have been developed for tri-bins and organic digesters to increase waste diversion and reduce contamination of waste streams.
  • Waste management tools are being developed to service the diverse needs of the York community, in Food Services (i.e. Eco-Takeout Program), Residence Life (i.e. Res Race to Zero), offices, special events, and other areas.
  • York continues to promote waste reduction and reuse through programs such as the Lug-a-Mug discount program.

Waste Audit Reports

We are quickly approaching our waste diversion goal – you can help us achieve and surpass it by participating in campus waste reduction and diversion initiatives and programs.

Review our Statistics to track the success of our diversion program.


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