UBC aims to divert 80 per cent of all waste from the landfill by 2020. Did you know over half of UBC's waste can be composted? If everyone separates their food scraps into the green Food Scraps bins, and sorts their recycling correctly, we will be even closer to reaching our goal.


Help UBC meet our waste diversion rate and reduce the number of items that go to landfill. Here are three ways to get started today.

Did you know over half of UBC's waste can be composted? If everyone separates their food scraps into the green Food Scraps bins, and sorts their recycling correctly, we are well on our way to reaching the goal!

  1. Use reusable mugs, water bottles and to-go containers
  2. Sort your waste into the right recycling and food scraps stream to avoid the landfill
  3. Reduce your consumption and choose to reuse

Click the "full screen" option below to watch our 15 minute introduction to zero waste at UBC mini-course, and learn more about how you can help us reach our goal of becoming a zero waste campus:

Top Waste Reduction Tips

Ditch Single Use Items

City of Vancouver estimates 2 million plastic bags and 2.6 million coffee cups are thrown in the trash every week. Every small choice adds up when magnified across the region. Choose reusable options to reduce landfill waste. 

Love your mug! Bring your own reusable mug and reusable food containers for discounts at campus food service outlets. 

Say no to bottled water: Millions of plastic water bottles end up in the region’s landfills each year, where they take 1,000 years to decompose. Save money and the environment by choosing tap water instead. Learn more and view water filling stations across campus.  

Avoid plastic cutlery and straws: Bring your own cutlery or request compostable or reusable cutlery at campus food outlets. UBC Food Services has demonstrated leadership by eliminating single-use plastic straws and cutlery to reduce waste. 

Green-To Go: Save 20¢ when you bring your own container or use a Green2Go container at UBC Food Services outlets.

Sort Your Waste

Learn what goes where: Check out the Sort it Out guide and share it with your friends and coworkers. Not sure where an item goes? Check the A-Z Recyclepedia.

Special Recycling Programs: Did you know UBC offers specialized recycling programs for items such as e-waste, batteries, lab plastics, soft plastics, Styrofoam and more at select locations across campus? Check out the A-Z Recyclepedia to find off drop off locations near you.

Play the Sorting Game: Test your sorting knowledge by playing the online sorting game.

Post signs: Unmarked bins lead to confusion, so make sure all waste bins are clearly labeled. Download our recycling signs.

Educate others: Now that you are a waste pro, let your colleagues know. Post signs, share the sorting game and put yourself out there as a resource for others to ask when they have questions. 

Recycling Bins

Convenience is key: Multi-bin Sort it Out stations should be located in areas that are accessible and convenient, such as near eating areas or crowded spaces. If you notice gaps in waste infrastructure in your building, contact your facilities manager for help.

Recycle deskside: If your workspace doesn't have a deskside recycling bin (larger blue recycling bin with smaller black garbage attachment), contact your facilities manager.

Be Paper Smart

Rethink printing: Before printing, consider if you really need to print! Consider alternatives to printing, such as distributing materials electronically, moving to paperless systems, etc. And only print the pages you need.

Reduce Paper consumption: 

Double-Side it: When you do need to print, ensure your computer and printer’s default settings are set to print double-sided.

Reduce Margin Defaults: Changing document margin defaults from 1.25 inches to one inch reduces the amount of paper you need by eight per cent! Learn how.

Electronically fileemails and documents rather than printing.

Print on scrap paper: Print or photocopy on paper previously used on one side.

Hold paperless green meetings. Send materials in advance electronically and bring your computer to share information by projecting it.

Purchase recycled paper: All departments at UBC are required to purchase copy paper with a minimum of 30 per cent post-consumer recycled content.

Reduce and Reuse

Encourage participation in UBC’s reuse it program, which facilitates the reuse of goods between departments on campus and to minimize the number of reusable items from entering the waste stream.

Promote reusable containers: Bring your own reusable coffee mug, water bottle and food container from home and use them any time you grab a drink, eat out or attend a meeting on campus. Persuade at least two of your friends or colleagues to do the same!

Spread the word: Let your friends and colleagues know they can get 15 to 25 cents off any beverage or food purchase at all UBC Food Services, Starbucks and AMS outlets if they bring their own mug or container. Ask for discounts at campus food service outlets.