For more than 130 years, the University of Manitoba has been a nexus of innovation and leadership in Western Canada. The University is located on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe and Metis indigenous peoples, and boasts close to 30,000 students, 8,700 faculty and staff, and 190,000 alumni.
This dynamic institution places high value on planning for achievement and creating a more promising future. The University’s mission—to create, preserve, communicate and apply knowledge, contributing to cultural, social and economic well-being—is reflected in its abiding commitment to sustainability. Guided by its sustainability policy and focused on long-term environmental goals, the University invites students, staff and the surrounding community to share its quest for sustainable development and environmental care.
Sustainability Objectives & Challenges
The University of Manitoba aspires to be a leader in campus sustainability. As such, sustainability planning is integrated across all levels of the University. From cleaning to energy management to purchasing, all strive to promote safety while reducing environmental impact. Through its Office of Sustainability, the University develops, operates and promotes various environmental programs and initiatives. Sustainability principles are reflected in its strategic planning, and the University involves its community—faculty, staff, students, alumni and neighbours—in sustainability initiatives.
The Solution: Recycle, Reduce and Reuse
The Physical Plant’s Office of Waste Prevention acts as a hub for numerous diversion programs on campus. In 2011, it set up a battery recycling program with Call2Recycle to dispose of old batteries and cellphones in an environmentally responsible manner. Battery recycling collection boxes are located throughout campus. The Call2Recycle program appealed to the University in part because it is easy to use. Boxes are collected when full and sent for processing at no cost to the participating organization.
The Call2Recycle program is operated by the not-for-profit organization Call2Recycle Canada, Inc., and is funded by battery and product manufacturers and retailers committed to environmentally sound recycling of their batteries. After collecting and sorting according to chemistry, the batteries are processed and turned into new batteries, stainless steel products and other products. Cellphones are recycled, refurbished, or resold.
The Office of Waste Prevention strives to inform its students, staff, alumni and neighbours, about the dangers of dumping batteries and cellphones into the Manitoba landfill. Batteries contain hazardous materials and if dumped or disposed of incorrectly, the harmful elements can find their way into our water sources, making it dangerous to life and adding to pollution.
Through participation in this battery and cellphone recycling program, the University of Manitoba moves closer to achieving its sustainability objectives, and making the planet a greener, cleaner place.
In 2011, Call2Recycle was appointed by the Manitoba Government to manage the provincial battery collection and recycling program. Since then, total battery collections have more than tripled, with over 82,700 kg recycled in 2015. This was a 14.5% increase over 2014, surpassing Canada-wide growth of 8%.
The University of Manitoba offers a range of waste reduction and diversion programs aimed at managing the environmental and community impact of waste. It has a central sustainability website that consolidates university-wide sustainability information. It also links to the various social media accounts that the University’s Office of Sustainability manages, including Twitter and Facebook. New employees are offered orientation and outreach guidance materials related to sustainability. These are currently accessed by about 50% of new staff, and plans are in place to increase access and uptake.
“Sustainability is of utmost importance to us at the University of Manitoba, and working with Call2Recycle is a great way to ensure that batteries and cellphones are recycled properly,” says Ophelia Morris, Waste Prevention Coordinator, University of Manitoba.
“Much of our battery recycling success in Manitoba can be attributed to the wholehearted cooperation and support we receive from our partners, including the University of Manitoba,” says Joe Zenobio, Executive Director, Call2Recycle Canada, Inc.
For more information on the Call2Recycle program, to learn how batteries are recycled, and to find other drop-off sites around you, visit www.call2recycle.ca