In 1990, York University adopted a policy to achieve a 50% waste reduction by the year 2000. To meet this goal, Campus Services and Business Operations formalized a comprehensive, multi-faceted waste management and diversion program in the mid-1990s. The program experienced early success and, in response, a more ambitious goal was set to reach 65% solid waste recycling ratio by the year 2013. By the end of 2008 we were well on our way, having achieved a 58% recycling ratio. On June 7, 2010 the University launched its ZeroWaste program to build on existing waste diversion and green cleaning initiatives. 

Some of the elements of the ZeroWaste program include:

All kitchenettes have been equipped with an organic waste container for all food scraps, which students, staff and faculty should use to throw away any organic waste.

Through the Green Cleaning initiative, offices are equipped with communal tri-bins and individual waste bins are emptied by the individual staff/faculty members who generate the waste. By becoming responsible for removing their own waste, individuals will have a greater awareness of the waste they produce. Custodial Services labour is reallocated to more important functions.

Stand-alone garbage bins are being removed and replaced with more tri-bins in the interior and exterior of campus.

In-ground tri-bins will increasingly be used around the exterior of campus, because they have a larger capacity and use gravity compaction, requiring less frequent emptying.

More outdoor organic digesters and battery recycling bin will be located around campus to allow for greater convenience. See the ZeroWaste website for a map of locations.

New types of materials are being captured for recycling, in participation with Stewardship Ontario and through other diversion programs.

With assistance from Printing Services, clearer labels have been developed for tri-bins and organic digesters to increase waste diversion and reduce contamination of waste streams.

Waste management tools are being developed to service the diverse needs of the York community, in Food Services (i.e. Eco-Takeout Program), Residence Life (i.e. Res Race to Zero), offices, special events, and other areas.

York continues to promote waste reduction and reuse through programs such as the Lug-a-Mug discount program.

We are quickly approaching our waste diversion goal you can help us achieve and surpass it by participating in campus waste reduction and diversion initiatives and programs. For more information, please visit www.yorku.ca/csbo/groundsfleetwaste/recycling/index.html.

Water Refill Stations

York University is committed to providing alternatives to the use of disposable water bottles. To that end, the University is in the process of installing water refill stations across both the Glendon and Keele campuses. There are currently more than 25 water refill stations that provide clean, cold water free of charge, with more are being added on an ongoing basis. Please see the Green Maps page for the locations of the water refill stations. There are also approximately 200 drinking fountains across both campuses.

Bring your reusable water bottle to campus and help us reduce the waste associated with disposable water bottles.

Residence Move Out

Created to reduce waste during the annual student move-out period, the FreeStuff project is a joint initiative between Housing Services, Residence Life, Waste Management and the President’s Sustainability Council. In April 2012, FreeStuff tables were set up in each of the University’s undergraduate residences, and students were encouraged to share unwanted items prior to moving out of residence for the summer. At the end of the month, all remaining items were donated to the Oasis Clothing Bank. Over 1,700kg of clothing, household items, books and electronic items were collected during the 2012 move-out period, which was about 40% more than the previous year.  Used batteries were also gathered in designated battery bins to ensure proper disposal. Due to this success, there are plans to bring the program back in 2013.

Surplus Asset Management

A surplus asset is any asset other than real estate that is no longer of use to a University department, Faculty or other operating unit. As part of the York University policy, surplus assets are re-allocated to other departments to decrease waste and maximize the life cycle of any University asset prior to considering its disposal. Unwanted items may also be donated to a non-profit organization for re-use through arrangement with Procurement Services. For more information, please visit www.yorku.ca/procurement/index.html

Free Store & Borrowing Centre

In the spirit of a share economy with an emphasis to reusing, repairing and upcycling, Regenesis at York operates a Free Store and a Borrowing Centre.  For more information https://regenesis.eco/social-justice-initiatives