Materials and Waste

UBC continues to implement the comprehensive Zero Waste Action Plan which includes targets to divert waste from the landfill and reduce waste generation. With the rollout of new indoor recycling stations across the academic campus nearly complete, efforts are now shifting to updating outdoor recycling infrastructure, updating the food scraps collection and processing systems, and implementing strategies to reduce waste generation.


  • Completed and launched the new online Sustainable Purchasing Guide.
  • Released new UBC Food Service Ware Procurement Guidelines to help maximize the diversion potential of single use food packaging on campus.
  • Facilitated the establishment of a Zero Waste Squad, a peer-led volunteer program for UBC students.
  • Demonstrated another major Zero Waste event at the 2016 Staff Barbeque, which generated virtually no garbage.


  • As construction, demolition and operational waste diversion rates remained similar in 2016/17 to the previous year, ongoing efforts focus on improving the effectiveness and performance monitoring of the zero-waste program.


  • Completed SEEDS research projects on design of innovative recycling station signage, reuse of surplus furniture, and food waste recovery.
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UBC Okanagan continues to reduce its operational waste and has improved its overall waste diversion rate. Despite an 85 per cent increase in FTE students since 2007, the campus demonstrated a 26 per cent reduction in operational waste going to the landfill per student, below the 2007 baseline.


  • Completed the fifth Bi-Annual Campus Waste Audit. Results demonstrated improvements in sorting behaviours in the compost and garbage streams by 5% and 15% respectively.
  • Continued to develop and deploy waste management strategies at a departmental level targeting the reduction of source waste from vendors.
  • Improved the annual campus waste diversion rate through the integration of waste awareness programming in the Power of You initiative. which commenced with deployment of the “It only takes 1 or 2” campaign and introduction of the online Recyclepedia in 2016.
  • Demonstrating personal commitment to environmental stewardship, a staff-led volunteer group organized the clean-up of a multi-use pathway leading to campus. During the lunch hour event, over 286 pounds of litter from the Bulman Road access was collected and disposed of responsibly.
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