Bins for collecting mixed paper, recyclables, organics and landfill.

Zero Waste

The University of Alberta is committed to taking a Zero Waste approach to waste management. Through recycling and composting and other diversion methods, the university can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the demand for natural resources and avoid the social and environmental impacts of landfills.

As part of Zero Waste, the university is introducing a new system of bins. These will simplify sorting and include organics as a standard bin. By including organics, the university can provide 1,500 tonnes of organic waste each year to the anaerobic digestion facility at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre.

With Zero Waste implemented, the university will be closer to diverting 90 per cent of waste from landfill.

Every Zero Waste station has the same four containers. Here's where to put your disposables so they can be properly recycled, composted or sent to landfill.

  • Recyclables


    • Aluminum pop cans
    • Plastic and glass drink bottles
    • Juice boxes and milk cartons
    • Plastic bags
    • Plastic containers
    • Non-hazardous lab plastics
    • Aluminum dishes and foil
    • Tin cans
    • Non-hazardous lab glassware
  • Mixed Paper

    Mixed Paper

    • Newspapers and magazines
    • Hardcover and softcover books
    • Flattened boxes
    • Loose paper
    • Pizza boxes (remove liner)
  • Organics


    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Bread, grains and flour
    • Dairy and eggs 
    • Meat and bones
    • Cooking oil
    • Coffee grinds & tea bags
    • Cardboard takeout containers
    • Paper towels
    • Napkins
    • Wax paper
    • Sandwich wrap
    • Receipts
    • Wood or bamboo chopsticks
    • Small amounts of cooking oil
  • Landfill


    • #3, #6, #7 plastic (includes vinyl/PVC and polystyrene)
    • Styrofoam takeout containers
    • Styrofoam packing materials
    • Chip bags and snack wrappers
    • Take-away coffee cups
    • Latex and rubber

Zero Waste bins are going to gradually replace the classic recycling bins across the university. A staged rollout has allowed Facilities & Operations to learn from the first test locations (Lister and the Students' Union Building) to ensure the system is as effective as possible.

When Zero Waste is coming to your building, Facilities & Operations staff will be in touch to help make it a smooth transition.

Buildings using Zero Waste
  • Business
  • Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS)
  • Central Academic Building (CAB) 
  • Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering
  • Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA)
  • General Services Building 
  • HUB Mall
  • Lister Hall – Market and Marina
  • Students' Union Building (SUB) – Cafeteria and basement
Coming Soon
  • Augustana Campus 
  • Education Centre
  • Physical Activity & Wellness Centre (PAW)
  • South Academic Building (SAB)
  • Students' Union Building (SUB) – Offices

For directions to these buildings, visit Campus Maps.

What is "Zero Waste"?

The following definition of Zero Waste is widely used and accepted and reflects the aspirations that guided the development of the university's waste diversion target.

Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.

Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.

Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.

Zero Waste International Alliance, 2009

Zero Waste Bins...

...all look like this, no matter which building they're in.

Bins for recycling, composting and garbage.

Sort It Out

Recycling bins are available in convenient locations in every campus building. Please be sure to sort items into the correct bin. If only five per cent of a bin is sorted improperly, it could mean the whole load must be sent to the landfill.

More information

Questions about Zero Waste? Please email

For other concerns with your building, please contact the Facility Services Manager or phone the Maintenance Desk at 780-492- 4833.