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BCIT Zero Waste Event

By Alexander Neff

Upcycling activities, ice cream, prizes and more welcomed students across campus during the Zero Waste Event organized by BCIT’s Sustainability Initiative on March 1st. This event was held to raise awareness regarding trash can contents and how the student population can help to reduce unnecessary waste. Many student volunteers helped to raise awareness by sorting the contents of garbage cans found throughout the school. The contents were sorted into various bags, including organics, recyclables, paper, refundables and waste. 

Activities were organized to entice students to visit the event locations. In the School of Construction, eco-friendly materials and products were showcased to help students make ethical choices. Accompanying these materials was information on Cradle-2-Cradle certification, Biomimicry and LEED certification so that students could learn what to strive for upon entering the industry. 

As well as focusing on sustainability through materials and products, an upcycling station was organized to educate students on the value of repurposing materials. To create a hands on experience, old, damaged comics were supplied for students to create “upcycled artwork.” Though not upcycling in its purest form, this activity provided an engaging way for students to learn more about the process.

In BCIT’s Great Hall, students were served ice cream and given $5 gift certificates, courtesy of Earnest Ice Cream. They were also given the opportunity to write a pledge regarding how they will help to reduce their carbon footprints and live more eco-friendly lives. Each pledge granted students one entry into a prize draw consisting of a $65 gift certificate from Bike Doctor, a $25 gift certificate from Earnest Ice Cream, and mason jars, reusable hankies and bamboo cutlery provided by The Soap Dispensary. Free bars of soap were also provided for each student who participated at the various stations.

At the end of the event, the results of the trash sorting were quite eye-opening. In one building the total waste amounted to 4.7% while the other contents were successfully sorted into their proper categories. The other participating building had a total of 21.2% waste, while the rest was organic and recyclable - better, but still a long way to go. Though the results may not be what people want to see, they surely engaged everyone and motivated the students of BCIT to try harder. It will be interesting to see how the results change at next year’s Zero Waste Event.

Overall, Zero Waste was a great success and the Sustainability Initiative helped many students to become more aware of what they put in trash cans and how they can make more environmentally-sound choices.

A special thank you goes out to The Soap Dispensary, Bike Doctor, and Earnest Ice Cream for their generous contributions to the event.

Alexander Neff is a student at BCIT working towards his Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design. He is focused on eco-friendly opportunities within his field including the applications of biomimicry and Cradle-to-Cradle design process. Alexander’s passions are sustainability, upcycling, writing and design and he hopes to integrate these passions into his future career.


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