The 'New Recycling' at uOttawa

Monday, November 13, 2017

Our waste diversion coordinator at the University of Ottawa holds up a new compost sign

The times they are a changing, and now so is recycling at uOttawa.
This month you may have noticed that the signs on the recycling bins have changed. Simply put, the University of Ottawa has a new waste management contract and we have made some modifications and upgrades to the recycling system.

Here is a complete run-down of the changes that affect you.

new uOttawa recycling infographic

Coffee cups are compostable

One of the biggest changes to the recycling system is that you can now compost your coffee cups. As the compost system expands on campus, more and more disposable items on campus are being replaced with compostable ones.

Take for example the compostable cutlery and carry away clam-shell containers available at most food service locations on campus. These items are more preferable to their conventional plastic counterparts.

*Do remember though, coffee lids are not compostable and should be separated and placed in the trash bin. The only exception are the lids from Première Moisson, which are currently compostable.

Hand towels are compostable too!

Oh yeah, don't forget that had towels or brown paper towels are also compostable too.

Tetrapaks, juice boxes, and milk containers go in paper recycling

For the longest time, milk containers and similar products have caused a lot of grief when it comes to properly sorting them. Many people assumed that because they were made out of some form of paper that they should go in paper. So to ease confusion, that is where we are putting them, with paper recycling.

Garbage is now landfill

A while ago we experimenting with the idea of changing the name of the category "garbage" to the category "landfill'. Although we didn't see much of a change in the amount of waste going in the bins, the ideas was to give people a clearer view of what happens to their waste.

Now we have modified the signs to show you the common items that typically go into the landfill bins, mostly plastic wraps. This was done to help ease confusion about some of the items that were typically finding their way into the wrong category.

Incandescent light bulbs are garbage

In the realm of things ending up in the wrong place, incandescent light bulbs are now considered straight up landfill. Remember though, all other forms of light bulbs can be recycled. Just simply leave your bulb on top of any recycling counter and our staff will take care of it.

Textbooks for Change

Although textbooks are still considered paper recycling, I just wanted to place a shout out for our partners in the Textbooks for Change program. Rather than simply be recycled, your textbook will be collected and checked to see if it can be reused. Why not give it a second life before it gets recycled.

Recycle your pens

This isn't a change to the system so much as it is a reminder, but you can recycle your pens on campus. We are going to add some extra pen bins in the Morisset Library to help make the whole process easier.


So that's the quick run down. Our office is looking to follow up the changes to the system with some posters and new signs.
But if you have some suggestions about how we can make the system better, we would love to hear from you.

~jON - campus sustainability manager

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