Last week, Karl, Brittnay, Reynaldo and Dave got a big surprise when they were caught RECYCLING at our Notre Dame and Exchange District Centre campuses! The cast and crew from Recycle Everywhere team leaped out to cheer and celebrate our recyclers, and if that wasn’t enough they also walked away with a bike from Woodcock Cycle or a North Face jacket. Not bad for simply putting your empty beverage container in the recycling bin!
Recycle Everywhere is visiting locations around Manitoba and surprising unsuspecting recyclers with bikes, jackets and other prizes when they recycle their beverage containers. This is part of a province-wide goal of recycling 75% of all beverage containers purchased by Manitobans. (The current provincial recycling rate for beverage containers hovers below 50%.)
The Sustainability Office was thrilled to be a stop along the tour and to be able to reward our students for recycling. At Red River College, we collect an average of 960 kg of plastic bottles for recycling every month, so it was nice to openly reward and celebrate those simple actions that make a world of difference.
During Waste Reduction Week we successfully caught hundreds of students reducing, reusing and recycling. Special thanks to RRC Food Services and Aramark, College Relations, Steve Coates and the Recycling Team for helping make this event such a success!
By the numbers – here’s what we did:
720 reusable EcoMugs sold across campuses! 667 students and staff caught lugging a reusable mug. 185 staff and students answered 2 important survey questions:
Can Tim’s cups can be recycled? (Answer: No)
What percentage of staff and students use a reusable mug on campus? (Answer: 7%)
40% of people surveyed answered both questions correctly. 5400 lbs. of computers, monitors, printers, TV’s, and other e-waste were recycled. 15 students and staff learned about RRC’s successful waste reduction and recycling program and how we’re diverting 80% of our waste at our newest building. Watch the session here. 25 recycling bins were given new homes at our “Retired Bin” giveaway.
Whew… we were busy, but like the Energizer Bunny we’re going to keep on going!
We will be continuing our “Mug Shot” campaign! Watch for us in the halls this November snapping photos of folks using their EcoMugs. These pictures will be added to our “Mug Shot” lineup, in the Library Hallway (Notre Dame Campus) and online at Sustainability@RRC- our Facebook page. All “Mug Shot” entries will be entered to win free coffee for the month!
Last week we asked staff and students to lug their mugs for Waste Reduction Week. We spotted more than 600 people on campus toting a reusable mug and sold another 720 EcoMugs to those who typically savour their Double-double with a disposable cups.
We have a lot of campus sustainability accomplishments to celebrate, but EcoMug use isn’t one of them (she writes with pangs of shame). Our current EcoMugs use on campus is 7%. 7%!! Back in 2009, we hovered around 30%. What’s changed? We ask ourselves.
The Sustainability Office has committed to doing more to promote EcoMug use on campus. One of those initiatives is the “Mug Shot” campaign. Starting in November, we’re going to circulate the halls to snap photos of folks using their EcoMugs. These pictures will be added to our “Mug Shot” lineup, located in living colour in the Library Hallway (Notre Dame Campus) and online at Sustainability@RRC - our Facebook page. All “Mug Shot” entries will be entered to win free coffee for the month.
We’re also going to track our EcoMug usage and report more regularly on our collective efforts and improvements. (We’re a positive bunch at the Sustainability Office and we know that our usage rates are going to increase significantly. We just know it!)
One last thing. We’re surprised to learn that a good number of students and staff think that Tim Horton’s cups can be recycled. We’ve said it 100s of times and will say it a bajillion more - Tim Horton’s cups can’t be recycled. The waxy lining inside the cup prohibits this. So next time you see your fellow classmate or colleague putting a disposable Tim’s cup in the recycling bin, do us a favour and let them know.
Thanks for doing your part to reduce waste on campus. Stay tuned for updates on our EcoMug journey…
From October 21 – 27, Red River College will join hundreds of schools, businesses, non-profit groups, municipalities and Canadian households by participating in Waste Reduction Week.
Throughout the week, the Sustainability Office has planned a bunch of events to engage, inform and promote waste reduction and recycling on campus. Come out to one event or join them all – just don’t waste these great opportunities!
Get Mugged Campaign
Did you know that only 7% of students and staff regularly use an EcoMug on campus? That’s a pretty low number considering lugging-a-mug is one simple action we can all take to reduce our environmental impacts. Plus, you get a 10-cent discount every time you use it.
Throughout the week, peeps stopped on campus toting an EcoMug will get their “Mug Shot” taken and will be automatically entered to win FREE coffee for the rest of the year.
If you’re spotted with an EcoMug you’ll be given a draw ticket. The prize winner will be announced on Oct. 28 and will be notified through RRC’s social media channels like this, this and this. So be sure to check back next week to see if you’ve got the lucky ticket.
We suspect that most of you have an EcoMug graveyard in the back of your cupboard. But in the off chance that not owning a reusable mug is the reason you don’t use one, come on out to one of our EcoMug sales. Mugs are only $2, and you’ll get a free first fill. That’s a deal too good to pass up!
Monday, Oct. 21 from 8 – 11 and 2 – 3 in Tim Horton’s (Notre Dame Campus, Mall Level)
Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 8 – 11 and 2 - 3 in Otto’s (Notre Dame Campus, J Building)
Thursday, Oct. 24 from 8 – 11 and 2 – 3 in Tim Horton’s (Roblin Centre)
Reducing our “Waste Line” Lunch & Learn
All students and staff are invited to learn why Red River College in an institutional leader in waste reduction and recycling practices. Hear about our plans for the future. Tell us how we can do better. Enjoy a free lunch!
Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 12:05 – 1:00 in eTV Studio B (Notre Dame Campus, GM33)
It takes a whole lot of bags, bins and elbow grease to run Red River College’s recycling program. By the numbers it’s:
25,000 bags annually
450 bins of various shapes and sizes across our campuses
17-member Recycling Team
I like to call it Sustainability at Work – the active, team effort needed to get all of our recycling out of the bins and out the door. Our Recycling Team is divided across 3 campuses, the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, Roblin Centre and Notre Dame Campus. The team is responsible for the day-to-day operations of collecting and sorting, cleaning and preparing our cardboard, bottles, plastics, paper, cans and food waste for recycling and composting. Thanks to them, we recycle 963 kg of bottles and cans, 1796 kg of paper, 3070 kg of cardboard and compost 5425 kg of food waste every month. That’s enough to fill 187 residential recycling bins every month!
This isn’t everything we divert from the landfill, but represents a sizable chunk of what we recycle on a daily basis, and provides a good snapshot of the sizable efforts our Recycling Team. So keep the recycling coming, and next time you see a member of the Recycling Team, tell them what a good job they’re doing.
Over the years we’ve seen more and more students and staff embrace the power of the pedal by commuting to Red River College by bike. Spring and Fall months, in particular, bustle with bikes.
While reported incidents of bike theft on campus are low (approx. 1/ year), having your bike stolen sucks. Full stop.
Take a read through these tips to help ensure that at the end of the day your bike is where you left it.
#1 Buy a good bike lock – a U-lock. U-locks are strong and the better ones come with theft warranties. Look for U-locks with flat or disc keys instead of cylindrical keyed locks since they are more easily picked. But unlike lottery winnings and bags of movie theatre popcorn, bigger isn’t better. Smaller U-locks give potential thieves less room to pry/ hack/ saw the lock.
#2 Try the Sheldon Brown bike locking technique. Do this by locking your back wheel *inside the rear triangle of your bike frame* to the bike rack. This will protect your wheel and frame, even though you’re not actually locking your frame to anything. While it may seem counterintuitive to only lock your wheel, bike experts will tell you that cutting a rear wheel to nab a bike is a difficult thing to do and rarely happens. Plus, front wheels are half the price of back wheels (with all of their special gears and such) so if you can only protect one wheel, make it the back one.
Sheldon Brown in action.
#3 Remove detachable items like lights, bags and quick release parts and take them with you.
#4 Register your bike with the City of Winnipeg Bike Recovery Program. Nearly 3,000 bikes are reported stolen in Winnipeg every year and, sadly, fewer than half of them are recovered. What’s worse is less than 10% recovered bikes are ever returned to their owners because ownership cannot be traced. By taking the time — and shelling out the $6.10 — to register your bike, you’ll be notified if your bike is recovered.
The Sustainability Office (Sue & Sara) celebrates Red Goes Green with a red velvet cupcake.
Happy 1st Birthday Red Goes Green,
You were conceived several years ago. And one year ago today you were finally brought to life.
You were created as a one-stop-site for all of Red River College’s sustainability happenings, events and news to help meet the College’s strategic action of increasing sustainability awareness among students and staff. Between events, speakers, policies and programs, you are one the many tools the Sustainability Office is using to promote sustainability and effect change.
You’ve had many visitors over the past year – 3,708 visits in total. Most of your guests are Canadian (85%), but people from as far away as Peru, Philippines, India and Australia have stopped by to see what you’re all about. And more than half your visitors liked you so much that they’ve returned to see you again.
We’ve had some long days and near sleepless nights learning about your finicky details and everything you have to offer. We couldn’t have made it through this first year without the support and patience from your godparent blogparent Nathan (who happens to share your birthday). Thanks and happy birthday, Nathan!
We are a little disappointed that only 43 people have signed up to receive your updates directly to their inbox (look on the right hand side the page). We’re going to promote this feature more widely in hopes of getting those numbers up.
Red Goes Green, you’re a work in progress. We know that as you mature and develop your voice that you’ll continue help RRC students, staff and the broader community (as far away as Arequipa and Kochi) along the sustainability journey.
Gord McLeod shows off the budding bounty! Red River College is pleased to be participating for the first time in Winnipeg Harvest’s Grow a Row Project.
Grow-A-Row’s roots date back to 1986 when Winnipeggers Ron and Eunice O’Donovan produced more potatoes in their backyard garden than they could consume. Their vegetables were so well received by Winnipeg Harvest the O’Donovans encouraged friends and neighbours to donate their surplus produce too. Since then Grow-A-Row has yielded millions of pounds of fresh fruit and veggies.
At the College, the project is being led by Gord McLeod and his Pavement & Grounds team. In between weed-whacking, mowing and their other regular duties, Sandhu, Brady, Rob, Ron and student employees take time out of their day to tend to the garden.
The 30′ x 60′ plot is located between the West Parking Lot and the old Greenhouse. “Six weeks ago this was just a grassy area. We tilled it and added 12 cubic yards of compost from our on-site compost pile to get the soil nice and healthy,” Gord explained. The team planted russet potatoes and carrot seeds and in a matter of weeks the garden has sprouted.
From food waste to plant food. RRC’s on-site compost was used to get the garden started.
The harvest is expected to take place around late September. We’ll be inviting staff to participate in a harvest-picking-party, so keep an eye on All Staff News (green thumbs not required).
Some healthy looking potato plants.
“This is a great project for many reasons. It supports the College’s values of sustainability and wellness and strengthens our connection to the community. I want to thank Gord and his team for their work on “grow-a-row” and look forward to expanding the project in years to come,” said Nancy Alexander, Vice President of Human Resource Services and Sustainability.
Students and staff who’ve spent the summer months tending to their own gardens can participate in Grow a Row by dropping off fruit and veggies at Winnipeg Harvest from Mondays – Saturdays.
Six months ago the temperatures were hovering around -30 Celcius and Red River College’s newest building, the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, just opened for business. The Sustainability Office faced the elements and posted a video about our very first compost collection at our new building – our compost maiden voyage.
Well, we’ve been at it for 6 months and we’ve got some exciting news to share. Check it out!
At the workplace level, Red River College received a 2nd place finish, coming in behind the Assiniboine Credit Union (ACU). Next year it’s “game on” between ACU and RRC as they nudged us out of a first place finish by a mere 18 people!
Our second place finish is still sweet as we achieved record participation levels with 159 College employees who bused, biked, carpooled and teleworked during the challenge week. That’s an unprecedented participation rate of 28%. This is no small feat, as no other educational institution in Manitoba surpassed the 15% participation threshold. The Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg had participation rates of 2.9% and 8.3% respectively. Congratulations Team RRC! Read all the local results here.
I want to extend an extra “high five” to those staff who led the pack during the Commuter Challenge. Collectively these staff travelled 6634 km. and avoided producing 1028 kg. of GHG.
Telecommuters: Peter Denton, Eva Brown, Deb Blower, Mike Arsenault
Finally congratulations to our prize winners: Pam Grimshaw who won a bike pannier for being one of the first 100 to register for the Commuter Challenge and John Mark Allen who won the coveted custom-built bike / extreme bike makeover (valued at $600) from Natural Cycle!
It was great seeing the spirit of RRC come to life in support of the challenge and seeing so many new people participating, getting active and helping the planet.