We want to create a place where waste is a thing of the past. By the year 2050, our goal is to be a zero waste campus.

We are going paperless

In an effort to reduce our impact on the environment, Facilities is replacing paper towel dispensers in campus restrooms with automatic hand dryers.

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Paper consumption

Reduces annual paper consumption on campus by 9,000 kg.
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Plastic garbage bags

Reduces the amount of plastic garbage bags used by thousands.
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Restocking and maintenance

Reduces the time and cost of restocking and maintenance.

uOttawa Recyclopedia

Waste reduction tips

Everything goes somewhere. We are committed to reducing consumption and preserving resources.

Litterless lunches
Try reusable containers and bottles when packing your lunch.

Reusable mug discount
Whenever you bring your reusable mug to campus, you will get a discount at all food service locations.

Recycling Should Be a Last Resort
We too often think of recycling as an ultimate sustainable task. Always remember, Reduce-Reuse-Recycle is an order of processes. Reducing the amount of stuff you use should be the first priority.

Relocate Recycling Bins!
Recycling bins should be in every building on campus but they might not be in the best locations. You know the habits and patterns of your co-workers best; if you see that a recycling bin would be more effective if it were in a different location, contact Sanitary Services and ask them to move it.

Reduce Paper Usage
Send documents and memos electronically. If you must print, print double-sided. Be mindful of how much paper you will use when printing and adjust your document accordingly. Reduce your margin size. Print single spaced. Delete text you do not need.

Reuse Single Sided Paper
Set up a bin to collect paper printed only on one side. For drafts use this previously used paper rather than new paper

Use Rags Instead of Paper Towels
Even when you factor in the amount of water and energy required to clean rags, they are much better for the environment than single use paper towels.

Buy Reused textbooks or Rent your textbook
You can find old editions of textbooks on various resale sites. You can also rent textbooks from the uOttawa Bookstore instead of buying it.

For more tips, please check out our Sustainability Tips page.

Plastic Bag Free Campus

The University of Ottawa is a plastic bag free campus. This means that you will only see plastic bags if they are biodegradable or if there is a charge to use them. We encourage everyone to carry reusable bags whenever possible.

Desk-side bin removal program

As the world looks for solutions to the climate crisis and environmental degradation, the University has set a goal of becoming a zero-waste campus by 2050. 

Desk-side waste and recycling bin service will be removed from offices to improve waste management services and increase waste diversion rates. Desk-side bin removal has been implemented by other Ontario universities, with many tangible benefits:

  • Increased diversion rate from landfills
  • Reduced waste stream contamination 
  • Reduction plastic bag use 

As desk-side bin services are removed, you’ll be asked to use central recycling stations. They offer more opportunities to divert waste and improve service (more recycling options and more frequent pick-ups). 

This will not impact the following areas;

  • Laboratories
  • Reception spaces

If you have questions about the program or would like to request a recycling workshop for your team, email us at [email protected].

A person holds up a desk-side recycling bin