Fifty-Three Feet and Counting

Photo credit: Jonathan Rausseo

A week ago we launched our new plastics recycling program. A revolutionary program (hyperbole) that will have a major impact on the University of Ottawa's waste diversion rate (not a hyperbole). If you haven't noticed, just about every recycling counter on campus not has that memorable yellow sign that just screams... "fill me with unusual types of plastic !"

In case you haven't heard about this program, Brigitte Morin (our trusted waste diversion coordinator) has found a company that will recycle the plastic locally (to make . The only catch is the we have to collect all the plastic ourselves, stuff it in a truck, and of course make sure that none of the plastic is very dirty.

Well, today was the day that we filled our first truck with plastic to send off for local recycling. Now before you freak out and say, "holy crap, you filled a truck in one week!", I need to tell you that we actually unofficially launched the program about 6 weeks ago. I mean, we weren't going to just launch a program this big without figuring out the bugs first.

Anyways, the truck arrived this morning, a 53 foot truck in point of fact, and we got to the task of trying to fill it. There was an unofficial bet as to whether we would actually be able to fill a truck that big. Brigitte was SO CERTAIN that would be able to fill the truck easily... whatever she was right but she doesn't have to gloat about it.

But I really do have to confess that I was totally shocked at the sheer volume of plastic we collected. More to the point, I was completely shocked by the volume of styrofoam that we still use on campus. Like 90% of the stuff that went into the truck was just styrofoam. Merissa, Kevin (Katimavik) and Jay (also Katimavik) were also totally flabbergasted by the amount of plastic. I mean think about it. This truck was 53 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 10 feet tall.

All in all I feel pretty good about today. We packed the crap out of that truck in record time;recycled a ridiculous amount of plastic; in a truck that was headed to Toronto empty anyways; and managed to help out the Sanitary staff (who are always helping us out so we got to repay the favour). HOWEVER, I don't feel great about the amount of plastic that we generate on campus and I really don't want people to think that people just because we can recycle plastic, that it is okay to just keep using it....

So think about this blog post more as a Want Ad than anything else:
Fun loving environmentalists looking for a faithful idea to reduce society's plastic consumption. Most be cool with sharing, enjoys cats, and wants to change the world.
Likes: reducing, reusing, and sometimes recycling (but only as a last resort)
Dislikes: easy fixes, elevator music, and apathy

-jon

3 comments:

vho said...

Congrats Jon! How have you tackled the aspect of plastic cleanliness?

jON said...

To tell you truth it hasn't been much of an issue yet. The majority of the plastic we are collecting with the program is basically plastic wrap.

With contaminated stuff, if it isn't too bad we can clean it. Honestly though, if it is too contaminated (you know, with mold and everything) then we have to toss it. Hasn't happened too much yet.

Hope this helps.

mer said...

Must enjoy cats. Good call. Meow