From March 1, 2011 to March 30, 2012, the Sustainability Office, in partnership with the Department of Geography, conducted waste audits of garbage from 13 locations on the St. Johns campus of Memorial University. These audits were generally one-time events, providing a snapshot of the composition of garbage collected from a given area. The composition of the garbage was determined by manual sorting into waste categories and weighing these categories. This report presents the results by location (sub-divided into areas where applicable) in waste categories by percentage of total weight.
Results for the audit revealed some general trends regarding what is being thrown in the garbage and opportunities for waste diversion. In office areas of nine of the buildings audited, more than 15 per cent of the garbage by weight was recyclable paper. With increased awareness of the mandatory paper recycling program, this paper should be an easy target for waste diversion.
Food waste made up over 20 per cent of the garbage in 10 locations. Two areas, the Main Dining Hall and the Campus Childcare Centre, have been identified as good potential locations to reduce waste through composting with over 40 per cent of garbage composed of food waste. In public areas with bathrooms, paper towel made up more than 20 per cent of the garbage by weight in nine buildings. In high use areas that generate a lot of garbage, such as the library and the University Centre, and in Burtons Pond Apartments, there is a potential to increase refundable beverage container recycling.
The results of the waste audit will be used in conjunction with other information to estimate and interpret the potential for waste diversion on the St. Johns campus and to make recommendations on improvements to waste management.You can read the full report here.