RecycleMania 2014: Winning blog post

a large pile of cans

As you may or may not have heard, the University of Ottawa is again the Canadian Champions of RecycleMania. This marks the 6th straight victory for the uOttawa and a milestone in terms of our diversion rate (we are closing in on the elusive 60% diversion rate).

But this is not a blog post to brag about our accomplishments, this is a post to honour the winners of our "Pledge to Live Waste Free" contest. This year's winner is in fact not one person, but the entire uOttawa Health Promotion's Nutrition Team. Congratulations! Only with your efforts can uOttawa truly become a waste free campus.

Here is the blog post from the winning team.

Living "waste free" was not the most difficult aspect of taking the Recyclemania Pledge. When there was something that had to be "thrown away," there were remarkably few things that did not fit into the any of the recycling categories found widespread on campus: Plastic, Metal and Glass, Compost, and Mixed Paper. 

The greatest difficulty we had was with the first of the three "R's": Reduce. Being busy students, Tupperware tends to get used once and then pile up in a sink of dirty dishes while fast and easy plastic bags take their place. Busy mornings often lead to buying a cup of coffee at Tim Horton's instead of making your own at home and bringing it in a reusable mug, and instead of making a sandwich in the morning, meals are purchased on campus, a habit that contributes to huge amounts of waste over time due to added packaging.

Prior to taking the Recyclemania pledge, it was easy to be ignorant to our wasteful actions. Day-to-day it did not seem as though purchasing to-go food was a big deal. After taking the pledge, however, we realized that by purchasing a salad or wrap on campus a couple times a week, that waste adds up over the course of a year. We became aware that it takes very little change to our lifestyle to reduce our eco-footprint. An example of this is by packing our meals the night before in reusable containers, we can reduce the amount of waste we produce significantly, with the added bonus of saving money. We also became more aware of things on campus that help us live sustainably, like the Free Store, Muggy Mondays, and People's Republic of Delicious. Our Healthy Noon event with Campus Sustainability was also great to educate students on sustainability and to show them how making their own salad and salad dressing in mason jars reduces waste and saves money. 

Since taking the Recyclemania Pledge, we have been and will continue to take the small amount of time required to sort our waste appropriately, and be more conscious of how much waste we produce in general.

~ HP Nutrition Team ~

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