Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 50.14
Liaison Don Forster
Submission Date March 30, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Seneca College
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.90 / 8.00 Paula Echeveste
Sustainability Supervisor
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 487.40 Tonnes 496.30 Tonnes
Materials composted 85.01 Tonnes 75.85 Tonnes
Materials donated or re-sold 0 Tonnes 0 Tonnes
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tonnes 0 Tonnes
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 652.70 Tonnes 779.40 Tonnes
Total waste generated 1,350.45 Tonnes 1,489.83 Tonnes

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:


Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year April 1, 2017 March 31, 2018
Baseline Year April 1, 2015 March 31, 2016

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted (e.g. in sustainability plans and policies or in the context of other reporting obligations):

The 2015-2016 waste baseline is used because the waste collection equipment was added or updated on each campus in 2015. The data collected during the 2015-2016 performance period was the first year to reflect these equipment changes, and the first year in which the waste hauler began providing a waste matrix. The waste matrix breaks down the monthly weights of each bin or compactor collected, the collection frequency, and the collection cost, allowing Seneca College to monitor its monthly cost and collection frequency. Annual waste data is independently verified by a third-party waste consultant (CD Sonter), obtained by the college year over year. All reporting is completed to meet the requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Environment.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 1,120 1,784
Number of employees resident on-site 6 4
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 216 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 28,230 26,361
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 1,661 6,425
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 23 23
Weighted campus users 22,898.50 25,019.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.06 Tonnes 0.06 Tonnes

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):

In the waste figures reported above, has the institution recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold the following materials?:
Yes or No
Paper, plastics, glass, metals, and other recyclable containers Yes
Food Yes
Cooking oil Yes
Plant materials Yes
Animal bedding Yes
White goods (i.e. appliances) No
Laboratory equipment No
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires No
Other (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of other materials the institution has recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold:

Other recycled materials include: electronic waste, clothing and textiles, batteries, light-bulbs, and female hygiene products. Electronic items such as computers are also donated or re-sold to students and staff where possible. King and Newnham campuses also have on-site composting programs.

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year (e.g. materials that are actively diverted from the landfill or incinerator and refurbished/repurposed) :

Does the institution use single stream recycling (a single container for commingled recyclables) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream (two separate containers for recyclables, e.g. one for paper and another for plastic, glass, and metals) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling (multiple containers that further separate different types of materials) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program (percentage, 0-100):

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed, e.g. efforts to minimize contamination and/or monitor the discard rates of the materials recovery facilities and mills to which materials are diverted:

Common areas are equipped with quad bins that include mixed plastic recycling, paper, and organics, to help minimize contamination in the garbage. The signage contains pictures of accepted materials and signs are posted on or above bins to direct users in sorting their waste.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives, e.g. initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices such as signage and competitions:

Facilities Management has developed signage to encourage recycling in common areas. Posters have also been created to promote events such as waste reduction week, farmer’s markets, clothing drives and clothing swaps. The department also hosts Sustainability Fairs twice a year to showcase the work of students who are passionate about sustainability and waste reduction, and encourage others to produce less waste.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:

Seneca College obtains a third party company (CD Sonter) to conduct waste audits across 4 campuses on an annual basis. After each auditing period, CD Sonter provides detailed reports outlining diversion rates, capture rates, and specific recommendations for each campus. The reports quantify specific contaminants (recyclables) in the garbage stream, and highlights opportunities for reduction by setting reduction targets for the following year. Facilities Management uses the data and recommendations from the reports to constantly improve their waste reduction program, and help educate students and faculty about waste reduction goals and achievements.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste (e.g. by minimizing packaging and purchasing in bulk):

This is not in place yet.

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

Old office supplies and furniture are donated or exchanged as needed between campuses, metal furniture is picked-up as metal scrap, the rest goes to landfill.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse (e.g. of electronics, furnishings, books and other goods):

Used textbooks are re-sold through the Newnham Campus book store; students are encouraged to sell used textbooks back to the store, and are given the option of purchasing used books online or in person. Students are also encouraged to participate in clothing swap evens organized mainly by the School of Fashion.Also,
the IT department has a Used Hardware sale on campus.

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption (e.g. restricting free printing and/or mandating doubled-sided printing in libraries and computer labs):

Seneca College is dedicated to the reduction of paper used by staff and students on campus. Students must pay for printing in the computer labs and libraries, therefore, printing is limited. Printers have been set to print double-sided by default. Staff printing is also tracked through an internal system; staff must use access cards to print or make copies for their courses. Seneca's Human Resource's department has gone paperless; all old files are being scanned into drives and paper files can now be accessed through a electronic filing system.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials (e.g. course catalogs, course schedules, and directories) available online by default rather than printing them:

Seneca College publishes directories online by default and course schedules are available through the online student portal. Physical copies of course catalogs are available upon request.

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:


A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:

Quad-bins and tri-bins are placed in common area hallways to encourage source separation of the following items: cans, glass, plastic, polycoat cartons, organic materials, mixed paper, boxboard, cardboard, and non-recyclable materials. Quad-bins in the cafeteria also includes a separate bin to collect liquids from drink containers. In the offices, desk-side and kitchenette bins are provided for the separation of waste from recycling.

Seneca College also has two organics programs, a Post and pre-consumer organics. The post-consumer organic bins are placed at the cafeteria and other food services areas for all the College users, the flowers discarded by the Floral Design program are included in this stream. The second organics program process all the organics generated at the kitchens at Newnham and King campus, which is processed through a macerator and then to the in-house composter to create compost in 14 days, closing the loop of that material.

Specialty recycling programs include clothing, e-waste, batteries, and spent light-bulbs. Textiles are collected on-site in designated donation bins located in a parking lot or the loading dock. E-waste is collected in designated totes on key areas of the college and at the loading dock for recycling; Batteries have a public-facing bin and a collection bin at the loading dock as well. The spent light-bulbs are collected mainly by facilities management, collected on their storage space and picked up by the specialized recycling company every time is necessary. All the specialty recycling programs are available at the main 4 campuses, Newnham, Markham, York, and King.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Seneca College has a number of waste management programs to reduce and re-use materials on campus and divert material from the landfill (e.g. pre- and post-consumer organics and paper/cardboard/plastic/metal/glass recycling). Other re-use and recycling programs electronics recycling, textile recycling, C&D recycling, and hazardous waste management.

The waste data provided includes figures from four of Seneca's campuses: King Campus, Markham Campus, Newnham Campus (including Newnham Residence), and Seneca@York. Weight estimated were used for materials where weights or invoices were not provided by haulers (ie. furniture reused on campus). Data provided by haulers was compared with waste audit data, on-site weights, and staff observations.

The 2015-2016 data was used because it reflected the previous year's equipment changes, as well as the introduction of an additional tool to track the cost and collection frequency of waste.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.