Student-led recycling program makes TWU a greener campus

They say great minds think alike. That may be the case for two Trinity Western University Environmental Studies students who have joined forces to help make TWU a greener campus.

Both fourth-year student Jennifer Rumley and third-year student Tanya Drouillard saw the need for the campus to get more involved in organic waste diversion although initially, neither knew of the other’s vision. But both believed that implementing an organic waste recycling program across campus just made sense. It didn’t take long for their paths to converge.

A life-long Langley resident, Rumley—who will graduate this spring with a BSc in Environmental Studies—was familiar with the Township of Langley’s Green Can program for residential properties. “I thought, ‘why can’t we do something like this on campus,’” she said. Over the summer, she sent an email inquiry to the Township of Langley’s Engineering Department. “I asked if the Township could partner with TWU to help implement a similar recycling program to the one they already had in place.”

Unbeknownst to Rumley, Drouillard—an Abbotsford resident who worked part-time in the Township’s Solid Waste Department—was thinking along similar lines. When Drouillard broached the subject with her Township co-workers, she learned of Rumley’s inquiry; by mid-summer, a committee, which included representatives from TWU and its food services supplier, Sodexo, as well as from the Langley Township, was formed and plans were underway. 

“Jennifer and Tanya showed great initiative,” said Krista Daniszewski, who serves as the Township of Langley’s Solid Waste Coordinator. “They wasted no time in getting things moving along for the University.”

With Sodexo’s cooperation, the project’s first phase—diverting back-of-house organic waste (food waste, paper towels, etc.) from the campus’ main food outlets—began last October. This month, phase two rolls out: front-of-house organic waste collection in the main food outlets. By the end of 2014, the entire campus, including student apartments and dorms, will be green.

“It’s always better to have corporations and organizations, like TWU, get involved in advance of Metro Vancouver’s upcoming 2015 landfill ban on compostable organics,” said Daniszewski, who also helped Langley School District #35 implement an organic waste collection program.

“We’re very community minded,” said Paul Johnston, TWU’s Director of Campus Services. “Implementing this program is the right thing to do—and it’s congruent with the University’s core values.”

That includes stewardship and sustainability, from using appropriate building materials to recycling organic waste.

But it’s not just organic waste that will be diverted from the landfill. New, clearly marked receptacles will help students, staff, and faculty recycle everything possible, from organic waste, to paper products, to refundable and non-refundable containers.

“Just think of us as the face of solid waste,” laughed Drouillard.

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