U of M takes part in waste reduction week

Every year in mid October, Canada and the rest of the world will participate in a weeklong event called Waste Reduction Week, promoting waste reduction as well as resource conservation for
communities, businesses and schools.

This year the event runs from Oct. 19-25.

Waste Reduction Week has been going on all over the world for nine years most of which the U of M has been a participant.

The U of M will be having a day full of events and activities on Oct. 21, which is also Campus Sustainability Day.

Maire McDermott, U of M sustainability coordinator said, “In the past we have done ‘eco spies.’ They are going to be everywhere around the U of M, and they give out prizes to people with sustainable behaviours.”

“For example if you are using a metal water bottle, using a reusable lunch container or even if you are just recycling, you get a prize. They come out of nowhere, and they are everywhere around campus all throughout the week.”

McDermott said that during the week Manitoba environmental groups will set up shop in University Centre so they can display their programs and projects.

Along with the Physical Plant, Degrees Diner and UMSU, the University of Manitoba Recycling and Environmental Group (UMREG) also helps take part in Waste Reduction Week.

Anders Arnell of UMREG said, “We help organize the eco spies, and decide on the prizes that we should give out. There is definitely more events going on this year on campus than there were in previous, and it is a great thing to see people take part in it.”

Joanne St. Godard, executive director of the National WRW program in Toronto, said, “In nine years we have come such a long way, we have so many sponsors and all of the provinces and territories participate in the week. It is amazing to see and hear about the different activities that have been put on.”

Although some students may not have heard of Waste Reduction Week, they already make their conscious effort to reduce waste and look out for the environment.

Rob McCaffrey, a 3rd-year student in the faculty of Arts, said, “I always pack a lunch and use containers that are reusable, and I take the bus to school every day.”

Amy Demchuk, a 2nd-year student in the faculty of Nursing said, “I think Waste Reduction Week is a very good opportunity to become more conscious and in some ways I think we are already conscious of it. Look at how popular those metal water bottles are. I have a reusable water bottle and I use plastic containers for lunches instead of using plastic bags.”

“Students know it’s important to reduce waste, I think it just gets lost in everything that they are doing, and an event like this reminds them it should not be an afterthought and that it is something to be thinking about all the time,” said McDermott.