Waste Reduction Week: Champions and Innovators Design Challenge
Waste Reduction Week in Canada is being celebrated from Oct. 21 to 27, and one of the week’s themes focuses on champions and innovators. To honour this theme, Sustainable Seneca will be holding a competition in collaboration with HELIX, the Seneca Environmental Association and the Seneca Student Federation.
For this challenge, participants are required to design a strategy to manage waste. Submissions will be judged by a panel of students and faculty. Six submissions will be chosen as finalists and have their design displayed on Oct. 9. These six finalists will then have five minutes to pitch their idea at HELIX on Oct. 11 at noon for a chance to win a sustainable prize.
The challenge is open to all current full-time and part-time Seneca students, and individuals can participate in groups of up to three people.
The School of Fashion
Through a series of textile waste events, the School of Fashion at Seneca is working to educe the mounds of unwanted clothing that currently end up in municipal landfills. Activities have included an exhibition by students (with guests from Seneca Facilities, City of Markham, Textile Waste Diversion and Seneca Career Services), a clothes donation bin launch, a presentation on fashion and sustainability by Kate Black (author of Magnifeco and founder of EcoSessions®), a vintage fashion sale in The Boutique, a styling event using second-hand garments, a clothing swap event and a film screnning of The True Cost, a documentary about the impact of fashion on people and the planet.
In addition, a student research team from the Fashion Business program is working with Textile Waste Diversion Inc. to investigate the influence of a social marketing campaign on attitudes and behaviours with respect to textile waste diversion. Funded by Seneca's Applied Research Fund and led by Prof. Sabine Weber, the Textile Diversion Initiative is changing consumer behaviour to fashion consumption and disposal through education. Past studies have considered the impact of fashion on consumer textile disposal behaviour, but have focused mainly on drivers of clothing waste. In this project, the research team is modelling consumer attitudes and behaviours regarding fashion interest, shopping frequency and disposal methods. This will support social and environmental responsibility by increasing awareness of the impacts of, and alternatives to, textile disposal in landfills.
Waste diversion initiative
Seneca has implemented a waste diversion initiative. Projects have included a Waste Source separating program (e-waste, recycling, paper/cardboard, construction/demolition/renovation), third-party annual waste audits, and the purchase of a waste compactor tracking program (Pandora). The initiative is aimed at reducing the volume of waste generated and sent to landfill as a result of campus operations. Our efforts have already reduced unnecessary compactor pickups as well as tipping fee cost and environmental impact.
Waste management plan
Seneca is developing a five-year plan as part of the current Facilities business plan to align with regulatory requirements and capital planning.
Pre-consumer organic program
A food service pre-consumer zero-waste program was implemented in the kitchen at Newnham Campus to reduce waste sent to landfill.
Post-consumer organic program
An on-campus composting program is being developed at Newnham Campus to reduce waste sent to landfill.
Wood waste program
Seneca recycles and reuses wood waste. Fallen trees are logged and reused either for chainsaw training, lumber for multiple projects or fire wood. Wood chips are kept for use in landscaping of gardens and trail maintenance.
Sewage lagoon dredging
Sludge from the lagoon is being removed and properly injected into farm fields to continue processing waste effluent at King Campus.