Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.71
Liaison Sharmilla Raj
Submission Date May 6, 2024

STARS v2.2

Toronto Metropolitan University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.50 / 8.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 336.10 Tons 642 Tons
Materials composted 116.19 Tons 0 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 34.71 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 806.26 Tons 1,009 Tons
Total waste generated 1,293.26 Tons 1,651 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:
Waste accepted at the site is deposited on the tip floor. The waste is put into one of 5 modular gasification units by the front end loader. The waste is heated to produce a gas. The gas is combusted, reaching a temperature of 1 000° C.– The heat from the gas combustion produces steam The steam is directed to a turbine to produce electricity or to a neighboring paper mill for use in the production of recycled paper products. The temperature of the gas drops from 1 000° C to 230° C. Water is sprayed into the flue gas to reduce its temperature to 185° C. Activated Carbon and powdered lime are added to the flue gas to absorb mercury and other metals and neutralize acids. Particulate is removed from the flue gas in the baghouse using over 3,900 m2 of advanced fabric filters. These fans draw the flue gas through the gasifiers, boilers, evaporative cooling towers, venture reactors and baghouses. They also propel the flue gas through the duct burner and selective catalytic reduction to the new stack. The duct burner reheats the flue gas to 230° C to prepare the flue gas for the next step in air pollution control system. Ammonia is injected to facilitate the operation of the Selective Catalytic Reduction. The Selective Catalytic Reactor reduces the nitrogen oxides in the flue gas. The treated gas is released through the stack. Bottom ash is the incombustible residue left behind by the incineration process. It is a non-hazardous material and is currently disposed of in a landfill. Emerald continually seeks ways to divert bottom ash from disposal. Fly Ash is a non-combustible material drawn from the flue gas. It is removed in the boilers, venture reactors and baghouse. It is potentially hazardous and is disposed of in a hazardous landfill.

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period May 1, 2022 April 30, 2023
Baseline Period May 1, 2014 April 30, 2015

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:
Using the 2014-15 year as our baseline allows for a three period from the selected performance year, and for consistency was the same baseline used for GHG emissions.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 1,153 810
Number of employees resident on-site 0 0
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 39,500 30,531
Full-time equivalent of employees 4,270 856
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 4,598 0
Weighted campus users 29,667.25 23,742.75

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.04 Tons 0.07 Tons

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 No
White goods (i.e. appliances) No
Electronics Yes
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:
Through a partnership with Terracycle, TMU offers recycling receptacles for cigarette butts in various high traffic areas on campus for community members to recycle their cigarette butts.

Toronto Metropolitan University is focused on operating an efficient campus that prioritizes reuse and minimizes the amount of waste we produce. As part of Toronto Metropolitan University’s waste reduction goals, several initiatives have been launched to help divert materials from waste streams, disrupt throwaway culture and reintroduce unwanted items into service through reuse or repurposing.

Branded Materials Transition Project: https://www.torontomu.ca/facilities-management-development/sustainability/reuse-repurposing/branded-materials-transition-project/

Free Store: https://www.torontomu.ca/facilities-management-development/sustainability/reuse-repurposing/free-store/

TMU Furniture Rehome Program: https://www.torontomu.ca/facilities-management-development/sustainability/reuse-repurposing/furniture-rehome-program/

For items that cannot be reused or repurposed, please use our recycling and compost streams across campus. You can find out more about our Waste and Recycling programs, by visiting the following link:

On the lower ground floor of the Student Campus Centre (SCC) you will find a “Textbooks for Change” box where students can donate old post-secondary textbooks, study guides, course packs, foreign language textbooks and other study materials. The textbooks must be less than 15 years old.

We also recycle including the recycling, composting and/or donation of cardboard, pens, markers and other writing utensils, LPDE (#4 Plastic) films, mixed containers, styrofoam, cigarette butts, and coffee cups.
Specialized plastics including acrylic, styrene and ABS can be recycled in the waste/recycling room on the first floor of the Daphne Cockwell Complex (DCC), where you can find three bins designated for each type of plastic to minimize contamination.
Also, TMU collects yard debris⁠—including leaves, mulch and plant materials like weeds and bush—so that it can be converted to compost and kept out of landfills.

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year:
34.71 Tons

Does the institution use single stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:
The Sustainability Office took bold and tangible actions to improve our waste diversion rate. Between 2018 and 2019, we transitioned the campus from a 3-stream system (waste to landfill, bottles and cans, and paper) to include a fourth stream - organics. We ensured upgraded infrastructure was strategically and adequately placed around campus with clear signage and color coded streams. The dual stream recycling infrastructure works to create consistency across campus and reduce contamination between streams. We also actively engaged and trained our students, faculty and staff on how they can take part in reducing waste and maximizing recycling.
All streams of waste on campus are collected and removed by Waste Reduction Group. This contractor was chosen based on a number of criteria, which considered factors like capability, availability and proximity to our campus. The Waste Reduction Group handles and disposes of all Ryerson’s waste within Ontario, helping to reduce any additional waste in transporting materials. After receptacles are emptied by Ryerson Custodial Services staff, waste is brought to a central location on campus, where it is collected by haulers from the Waste Reduction Group, gathered and sorted at the end-site and sent to facilities that turn those materials into new products made with recycled material.
Organics are sent to anaerobic digester facilities in southwest Ontario, where bacteria/microorganisms break the organics down and turn it into a high-quality compost that is used for farming. At least one of these facilities also uses the heat produced by the generator (also enclosed), pumping it into onsite greenhouses to grow vegetables.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:
Waste reduction, resource recovery and reuse:
Toronto Metropolitan University is focused on operating an efficient campus that prioritizes reuse and minimizes the amount of waste we produce. At TMU, we have a number of initiatives that individuals can take part in to reduce waste and support a reuse culture on campus. Learn more about Reuse and Repurposing programs at TMU.

Engagement and educational events:
The Sustainability Office hosts a number of engagement events throughout the year to help TMU students, faculty and staff learn about how to properly dispose of waste on campus. This includes an interactive sorting game to strengthen community understanding of What Waste Goes Where.

We also started a waste monitoring program in 2016, where trained student volunteers are stationed beside ServiceHub bins in the Podium (POD) to help educate the community on what waste goes where. We participate annually in Waste Reduction Week, a national campaign that aims to raise awareness of waste reduction and a circular economy.

In 2023, TMU's Sustainability Office launched a Waste Wizard pilot program.The TMU Waste Wizard tool provides a quick and easy way to find out if an item should be recycled, composted, or landfilled.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:
Toronto Metropolitan University conducts annual waste audits in order to understand our waste streams and improve our waste management. This information also helps us identify ways to improve our diversion rate by developing and implementing plans to reduce, reuse and recycle. The annual waste audits are also a part of the requirement of the Provincial government under the Ontario Regulation (O.Reg.) 102/94. Twenty‐four hour samples of waste were collected from three (3) different areas on campus. The audit helps us to understand our waste streams and improve our waste management. This information also helps us identify ways to improve our diversion rate by developing and implementing plans to reduce, reuse and recycle. Learn more by reading the university's most recent audit report and waste reduction plan.

TMU’s waste diversion rate has hovered around 40% over the past 7 years and dropped to 20% in 2021, well below the Province's target of 60%. While this marked a dramatic decrease from previous years, the amount of waste produced on campus dropped by approximately 75%. The variability in our waste audit results can be attributed to the impact of COVID-19, with fewer people on campus throughout the academic year.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:
TMU is bottled-water-free and encourages students, faculty, staff and visitors to carry a reusable bottle. This is supported by providing free, public drinking water and an increased investment in water fountains and water bottle refill stations throughout our campus. The sale of bottled water on campus was successfully phased-out in 2013 as an initiative launched by the students’ union.

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:
The TMU Furniture Rehome Program was created by the Sustainability Office to divert TMU furniture in good condition from landfill. Through the program, we hope to encourage and facilitate the redistribution and reuse of quality surplus TMU furniture items and reduce landfill waste.

If items cannot be rehomed on campus, they are made available to TMU community members for personal use or are otherwise offered to other public sector institutions, community organizations or TMU’s Free Store. Anything remaining or unfit for redistribution is dismantled and recycled as appropriate.

The TMU Free Store is a pop-up store dedicated to helping TMU students reduce their environmental impact and save money.

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:
Students have to pay for their own printing. All library and computer lab computers are set to double sided printing by default. Staff and faculty are educated and encouraged to set their computer default to double sided printing and many areas have 'hold and release' functions set up. In every printing station we have signage to remind and encourage staff and students to conserve paper.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials available online by default rather than printing them:
TMU directs students to our website and social media for information. Our directories are entirely on-line as is all registration information. Current students access grades and timetables through the web-based Student Registration Services, and all printing of these documents is done by individual request only. In the classroom, all course outlines, course schedules, and most assignments are posted on Desire2Learn, a virtual learning environment. TMU prints a limited number of college catalogues, documents like our Sustainability Yearbook are only available online.

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:
Sustainability Office staff host residence cleanups where they set up a collection station inside student residences during student move out schedules to collect waste that can be diverted. The collected items are transported by the Sustainable Office to thrift stores.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:
Through a partnership with Terracycle, TMU offers five recycling receptacles for cigarette butts in various high traffic areas on campus for community members to recycle their cigarette butts.
Also, we have a “Textbooks for Change” station where textbooks, study guides, course packs, foreign language textbooks and other study materials can be donated.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
TMU does not have animal bedding on campus.

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.