Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Waterloo are you up for a challenge?

Waste management is something that I have been thinking a lot about recently.  Our famiy just finished up a self-imposed challenge to produce 1 bag of garbage for an entire year.  We recycled, used our green bin and modified our buying habits resulting in a successful completion of what we challenged ourselves to do.  If you are interested in more about our 12 month challenge you can read One Family, One Bag, One Year.  We had meant to blog a bit more but life got in the way.  The challenge itself was rather natural for us and we were able to complete it without  as much stress as we originally thought.  The stress came in when everyone wanted a piece of this story. We all know the phrase "Haters gonna Hate" but the impact is significant when they are "hating" on you.

We were not prepared for the status our story would achieve nor were we prepared for negative comments that began popping up on online articles about us.  So we backed away from the attention the we received not wanting to do any more interviews. That being said we are still very proud of what we were able to do.

That was a significant tangent introduction but the inspiration for this post is the University of Western Ontario.  My wife and I recently took a trip to London and we saw amazing waste diversion and recycling opportunities in what appeared to be regular waste receptacles. To top it all off we also saw a simple garden composter in the garden in front of the Student Services building.   We saw all of these things being on campus for only a few minutes so I can only assume they are all over the UWO campus.

I am an alumni of the University of Waterloo and I have been a staff member for a long time and I am tremendously proud of Waterloo and the innovation that is sparked all around the region.  However, I think that UWO has us beat in waste diversion opportunities and I am thinking we need to step it up.  I am reminded of an old memo that is hanging on a bulletin board in our work area that talks about Waterloo's Fine Paper Recycling System and how the university has been selling paper recycling for many years instead of paying for it to be sent to a land fill.  I wonder what kind of other opportunities we could find if we followed Western's example.

I am encouraged by many businesses who have started using new garbage bins that encourage people to sort out waste to improve our waste diversion throughout our region. Now the next trick is to get people to read and follow the directions.


  1. Matthew,

    Thank you for recognizing the efforts of Western University! We do our best to reduce our waste outputs and manage our waste streams efficiently.

    Kudos to you and your family for your waste reduction initiative!

    Keep up the great work,

    Stefanie De Adder
    Sustainability Coordinator
    Western University

  2. Thanks for your response Stefanie. I am always encouraged by efforts to reduce our waste and our impact on the environment. Keep up the great work.