Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.01
Liaison Connie Norton
Submission Date Oct. 29, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Simon Fraser University
IN-1: Innovation 1

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Rachel Telling
Zero Waste Coordinator
SFU Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
SFU's Zero Waste Initiative

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :

In January 2014, SFU’s Sustainability Office, in partnership with Facilities Services, launched a new ‘Zero Waste’ initiative at SFU. Existing waste bins in public spaces were replaced with new, 4-stream Zero Waste Stations. Stations now sort disposables into four streams: food scraps and organics; mixed paper; recyclables; and landfill garbage.

SFU’s Initiative aims to double the amount of waste recycled or composted by 2015, while diverting 70% of waste from landfills. This goal was adopted in the SFU Sustainability Strategic Plan 2013-2016, and mirrors Metro Vancouver’s target in both percentage and timeline, making the program part of a wider, regional goal to have one of the highest recycling rates worldwide.

Visual cues for each material stream are consistent with the streams, colours and signage adopted by Metro Vancouver. Organics recycling has been introduced well in advance of Metro Vancouver’s landfill ban, meaning that more materials can now be recycled at SFU, and we are pioneering standardized recycling stations across all three SFU campuses – making recycling at SFU consistent, convenient and easier.

The program launch in January featured a fun music video on Zero Waste at SFU with a local musician; a new comprehensive Zero Waste website listing materials suitable for each bin, as well as the lifecycles for each stream; social media activity; on-campus zero waste events; and in-person orientations to the new system conducted by staff and volunteer student ‘Zero Waste Educators’.

Progress is being monitored through community feedback mechanisms such as surveys, on-site waste audits, and data from waste haulers. The results of these allow us continually to adapt the program to improve performance. For example, the signs at the stations will be were changed at the beginning of the Summer semester, in May, to reflect what we have learned.

Since the launch of this Initiative, we have been contacted by several other universities in North America looking to incorporate aspects of our initiative (e.g., our signage and even our particular bins) into their programs. Our ultimate aims are to create a no-waste culture while making SFU a leader in waste management best practice; sharing our knowledge and experience with other institutions is an important start.

The Zero Waste program is about much more than just separating waste into different bins. We know that the best way to reduce waste is to reduce consumption of items that become waste. One timely example is to find and embrace alternatives to single-serving coffee machines, an activity we are currently working with SFU’s Procurement Office, the UniverCity Trust and student groups to implement. Also in development is a “green certification program” for food vendors to encourage them to move away from the use of Styrofoam and toward more sustainable food packaging, especially less packaging.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

In the five months since the launch of the Zero Waste Initiative, SFU has gone from a 29.8% diversion rate in November 2013 to a 47% diversion rate in May 2014. Between January and May 2014, 198 tonnes of waste was diverted from the landfill, accounting for $19,273 savings in landfill disposal fees because of this diversion.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of 5):
Yes or No
Curriculum No
Research No
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Air & Climate No
Buildings No
Dining Services Yes
Energy No
Grounds No
Purchasing Yes
Transportation No
Waste Yes
Water No
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work No
Investment No

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
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The website URL where information about the innovation is available :

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