Archived: Three tips for greening your campus

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By now you may have finally settled into a school-work-play groove, thanks to our sweet tips. That’s awesome, but maybe now that you have the time to look around, you’re noticing ways that our campus community could go easier on the earth. Maybe you’re shaking your head in dissatisfaction at your study group’s paper waste, or all the uneaten food at your last book club meeting. This will not stand! What do?

Well, we at SAMRU are very big on being the change you want to see, so here a few of our hot tips on how you can take a bigger role in making MRU more earth-friendly:

Sort your trash.

There are four streams of waste disposal on campus: Organics, Mixed Recycle, Refundable, and Landfill. There are nuances to what can be included in each stream (you can review the full guidelines here), but are a couple of basic points to keep in mind:

  1. Mixed Recycle is your friend. If you’re ever in doubt about whether containers are recyclable, err on the side of caution and put them in with mixed recycling. Mixed recycling gets sorted at recycling facilities, and non-recyclable containers will get sorted  out one way or another.
  2. When in doubt, throw it out. Contamination rates for organics tend to be very high – all it takes is one disallowed item to void the whole batch. As long as it’s biodegradable, organic waste can also go into landfill. Better to send the odd banana peel to a landfill than to spoil a batch of organic goods.
  3. Divert as much paper from landfill as possible. By November 2016 the City of Calgary will start mandating diversion of paper goods into recycling. Use either the cardboard/paper bin or mixed recycling bin for paper goods.

Speak up.

If you attend an event on campus that goes out of its way to divert waste and be mindful of the environment, talk to the organizer afterwards and let them know what they were doing well. If you notice some things the organizer could be doing to improve on waste management, tell them that too. Event organizers want to know how they can keep you coming to their events, and these sorts of comments do get tracked and discussed when planning next year’s slate of events.

Get connected.

MRU has tons of resources, both informational and financial, designed to help students and student groups get involved with campus sustainability. In a club? There are tons of Club-specific funds that make it easier to host fundraisers, bring in guest speakers, and improve amenities for your members. Talk to your club execs about applying for these funds and allocating for green solutions at your next club event.

And speaking of events, Sustainable MRU offers this handy checklist to help you prioritize sustainability while event planning. If you can check off 21 out of the 24 items on the list, they’ll feature your event on their website!

Want to go deeper? You could apply for one of the research assistant opportunities with Mount Royal’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability, which aims to improve environmental health and sustainability through scholarship. The SAMRU community garden also offers lots of opportunities to work with other students, faculty, and surrounding communities to promote food security, sustainability and horticultural therapy.

Want to learn more?

You’ll love Create, SAMRU’s monthly workshop series focusing on sustainability topics. The first workshop of the year, coming up on Wednesday, October 19, will focus on how to host green events. Green Event Services, a company that has managed waste diversion for events like Market Collective and the Calgary Pride Festival, will shed some light on the logistics behind making events more environmentally responsible. If you’re a volunteer or club executive hoping to host more environmentally responsible events, or even if you’re just curious about how the festivals you love tackle waste reduction, this workshop will be illuminating.

For more info on upcoming Create workshops, visit www.samru.ca/create.

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