UBC Vancouver’s Zero Waste Action Plan targets 80 percent overall waste diversion by 2020, and both campuses are striving towards full waste recovery and reuse by 2050. Achieving this will require continued updating of infrastructure and operational processes, the commitment of the campus community, and collaboration with sustainable industry partners and government policymakers.

26%
REDUCTION IN ANNUAL WASTE DISPOSED PER STUDENT SINCE 2010 (VANCOUVER)

76%
AGREED THE CHOOSE TO REUSE CAMPAIGN INSPIRED BEHAVIOUR CHANGE (VANCOUVER)

35%
REDUCTION IN ANNUAL WASTE DISPOSED PER STUDENT SINCE 2010 (OKANAGAN)

13%
INCREASE IN WASTE DIVERSION RATE SINCE 2010

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

UBC VANCOUVER 

Innovations in laboratories target plastic, glass, soil | New studies to evaluate non-hazardous laboratory waste streams identified plastic, soil and glass as areas with high impact opportunities.

  • Plastic: Gloves, pipettes, and centrifuge tubes generate an estimated 64 to 128 tonnes of waste each year; approximately 2 to 5 percent of operational landfill waste. In response, UBC piloted a glove recycling project and refreshed a lab plastics recycling program.

  • Glass: An estimated 16 tonnes of amber glass containers is sent from labs to landfill each year. A pilot recycling program in the Michael Smith Laboratories diverted over one tonne this year, and is set to expand to new sites next year.

  • Soil: UBC Botany generates 22.5 tonnes of soil waste per year. Through collaboration with Safety & Risk Services, Sustainability & Engineering, and Building Operations, the soil is now collected, treated and repurposed as construction fill or soil for soft landscaping on campus.

Zero Waste Food Ware Strategy goes live​ | The Zero Waste Food Ware Strategy was completed in collaboration with UBC Food Services and other stakeholders. One goal of the strategy is to reduce the approximately 1.7 million single use coffee cups used on campus by 50% by the end of 2020. This was supported by a 25 cent cup fee and the Let’s Choose to Reuse campaign to raise awareness and campus engagement.

Office and residential reuse projects demonstrate potential savings of over $600,000​ | A team led by UBC’s Campus + Community Planning department and including One Earth Society, UBC Student Housing and Community Services, and with financial support from Vancity, developed a business model for expanding and scaling up the reuse pilot program at student residences.

Another Move In Market pilot was also conducted at Walter Gage Residence, which generated $2,300 in revenue and a desire from 96% of survey respondents to have future markets to re-use residential items.

In addition, a UBC SEEDS study analysed the business case for an expanded office furniture reuse program. This study demonstrated potential for cost savings of over $600,000 through a dedicated office furniture reuse program.

UBC OKANAGAN 

Compost program expanded | UBC Okanagan expanded its compost program in 2019. Working with a new partner, the list of acceptable material increased to include carbohydrates, grains, meat, bones, dairy and compostable foodware such as chopsticks, wooden flatware, and compostable containers.

Students lead ‘Sort It Out’ at UBC Okanagan campaign | A team of GEOG491D students developed a short video that was viewed in social media posts on UBCOTV and across the campus’ electronic signs, and now permanently resides at sustain.ok.ubc.ca.

Supported by the Okanagan Sustainability Office, Facilities Management and Food Services, the project created a peerto-peer educational tool to increase awareness of current waste and recycling issues and improve sorting behaviour.

PaperCutTM prevents printing of 469,000 pages | UBC Okanagan introduced PaperCutTM, a user-driven, online based printing program in 2016. In 2019 the campus printed 38,000 fewer pages than the previous year and prevented the release of 469,000 pages for print, reducing GHG emissions by 2,111 kgCO₂e.