Zero Waste Blog

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Yukon College

October 31, 2017 Yukon College

The best meeting you’ll be invited to is a CRAP one at Yukon College

They gather regularly, usually in the same location, handy to a microwave since the only time they can meet to discuss Composting, Recycling, And other Projects (yes, that acronym is CRAP) is generally at lunch because of hectic, busy schedules.  They are meetings where passion and ideas meet action.

The CRAP committee began in 2008 as a special project, staring with small steps that make a big impact, like swapping out garbage cans in washrooms for composting towels, and setting up compost bins in the Yukon College kitchen so that all kitchen compost could be picked up by City of Whitehorse trucks and contributed to the City compost facility.  Members have come and gone, but there is always a consistent and inventive group of people involved.  Science Instructor Gerald Haase has sat on the committee for four years now with no intention of slowing down.  “It’s really gone from an ad hoc committee to deal with one time purchasing of materials to being defined by a much larger scope of projects, which is why it’s called CRAP in the first place!  We didn’t have to stop at compost and recycling,” and so they haven’t.

In fact, Yukon College is one of almost forty institutions within Canada that have memberships with Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) whose mission is to “empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation.  We do this by providing resources, professional development, and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research,” according to the organization’s website, http://www.aashe.org

Already, in the past year, the group has received Special Project and Capital Funding through Yukon College to hire eight students for one week to build Zero Waste Stations, in support of a larger project of partnering with the Yukon Government’s Zero Waste Action Plan.  Discussions were had between Yukon College CRAP Committee members and Kristina Craig, part of the Zero Waste Yukon team. “When we met with Kristina to talk about the Zero Waste Campaign, it was a happy match right from the beginning. The Zero Waste Campaign was going in a direction that Yukon College was already committed to. We’ve been trying to divert materials from the landfill and there are so many better ways of dealing with waste than dumping them or burning them – even for energy. It just makes sense to cut down on waste right from the beginning,” says Haase.

The focus is on students and staff and every year one of the first orders of business is to engage an interested student and have them sit and share in the meetings.  The Yukon College Student Union has agreed to help facilitate picking up the recycling with the Welcome Centre in order for the money made off the bottles to go back to students this year.

Discussions around the table can vary from marketing campaigns that will make an impact, such as coffee cozies having messaging on them encouraging people to buy a sustainable mug; regarding custodial staff duties changing from garbage removal to dealing with some recycling components; and recently, eliminating all garbage cans from all classrooms, and most offices on campus and having about 20 Zero Waste Stations set-up throughout the main areas of the building.

Below are some photos of the shop students building the Zero Waste Stations.

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