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recycling bin
April 17, 2019
3 mins read

How to properly recycle the junk in your room

Did you know that UBC Vancouver has a target to divert 80% of the waste created on campus from the landfill by 2020?

This is part of the Zero Waste Action Plan where “all unwanted products and materials will be treated as resources that can be used again, resulting in virtually zero garbage” (Zero Waste Action Plan, 2014). On a campus with more than 70,000 people, this is an extremely important goal, as we have the potential to make a huge difference in the amount of waste produced.

With move out day around the corner, this is the perfect opportunity to take action and be mindful of how you sort through the things in your room to reduce unnecessary waste.

This is what you can do

1. Ask your RA

Each residence building has different protocols of where to sort and bring items from your room. The best resource you have is your RA because even if they don’t know the answer to your questions, they will be able to find out for you.

You can also take a quick study break and check out these 5 helpful steps for a mindful and smooth move out.

2. Think ahead about where to take items

In every UBC student residence, there will be multiple Donation Zones where clean and functional items can be donated to charity. You’ll see bins for used textbooks, electronic waste, used clothes, household items, and non-perishable food (i.e. canned/unopened food). Donations will go to the AMS Food Bank and the Developmental Disabilities Association.

If you’re in Walter Gage Residence, they’re in the second year of a Reuse Pilot Project which is coordinated by Campus & Community Planning and the Zero Waste Squad. Items donated in Gage will have the potential to be collected and resold to students next year, to encourage a circular economy on campus!

3.   Sort it, donate it, or sell it

While you organize and declutter your stuff, here are a few helpful tips to remember:

Paper products
  • You can recycle all the piles of old class notes taken over the school year in the blue paper recycling bins.
  • On top of dropping your textbooks off at a Donation Zone, you can also go to the UBC bookstore and resell them back for cash, or donate the textbooks to the partnership that the bookstore has with Books for Africa (simply drop them off at the front cashiers). There are also Facebook pages where you can resell textbooks to future students.
Kitchen food
  • Perishable items (i.e. old salad, uneaten apples) need to be composted in the green food scraps bins. Do NOT throw any perishable items out in any plastics—make sure it’s only food and food-soiled paper. Visit the Sort it Out website to see what is accepted.
Physical items
  • It’s always a good idea to try and sell things first. Facebook has a marketplace page to post items and Craigslist is super easy to use. 
  • If you’re wanting to store items over the summer for next year, Alluster storage is a company that will come pick up your items, store them month-to-month, and then deliver them back to you.
  • The H&M Garment Collection Program will take any clothes, in any condition, at any store location and recycle them. For every bag of clothing you drop off, you’ll receive a discount card for $5 off a $30 purchase.
  • The Salvation Army Thrift Store will also take unwanted clothes for resale and for every donation, you’ll receive a discount coupon.

I know this is a busy time of year...

As simple as it would be to throw everything away, we as UBC students have a responsibility to help reduce the waste produced on campus. Remember, when in doubt, ask an RA!

Together we can make a difference in diverting UBC’s waste.