Reducing Single-Use Items on Campus
In 2019-2020, we decided to expand our 'Love My Mug' campaign to target all to-go single-use waste on campus. At the UVSP, we noticed that — due to the busy lives of students — many people were taking their food to go at the campus food outlets. After some investigation on strategies implemented by other Universities across Canada, we decided we wanted to implement a reusable container system at UVic to reduce the amount of single use waste going into the landfills each year.
Although many takeout containers appear to be compostable or recyclable, the Capital Regional District (CRD) has a difficulty taking in such high quantities of "compostable" waste, meaning most of it will simply be put in the landfill. Our "Love My Mug" campaign highlights how full the Heartland landfill (our local landfill) is getting, and how the illusion of compostable products can make people forget about how much waste their containers are actually producing. Additionally, the production of the containers themselves require large amounts of water and energy meaning that these products are both energy and waste intensive.
We acknowledge with respect the Lekwungen peoples on whose traditional territory the University of Victoria Sustainability Project works on, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.