Materials Management

Facilities & Operations incorporates the principles of reuse and recycling into the management of campus grounds and buildings. Some of these initiatives include:

  • Tree and branch clippings, leaves and plant waste are mulched or composted.
  • After spring clean-up, road sweepings are used to fill potholes in gravel roads on farms and at research stations.
  • The Vehicle Pool runs a fluid recycling program that includes the collection and recycling of used motor oil and transmission fluid. Vehicle tires, batteries, and oil filters are also recycled.
  • PCB ballasts and fluorescent tubes are recycled using a process that separates mercury from the glass and metal end caps. The mercury-contaminated phosphor powder is sent for further recycling and recovery, while the aluminum end caps and glass are sent for recycling.
  • Facilities & Operations also recycles scrap steel, refrigerants, pallets, and construction and demolition waste.
  • The Freon Recapture Program for refrigerants ensures that no Freon escapes and that Freon is reused.

Campus surplus

Many campus programs coordinate to reuse surplus that would otherwise be disposed.

  • Furnishings are centrally inventoried, providing offices with lightly used furniture as an alternative to purchasing brand new.
  • Staff with extra office supplies can share them with other offices by posting on the Swap n' Trade Facebook group.
  • A chemical reuse inventory offers free collection of surplus chemicals from research labs. Chemicals are stockpiled and shipped back to campus when requested.
  • The Bookstore buys back and re-sells major textbooks, and both SUBtitles and the Augustana Students’ Association's bookstore offer textbook consignment.
  • Bicycles abandoned on campus are donated to Edmonton Bicycle Commuters (EBC), Sustain SU’s Bike Library, and a local high school vocational program.

New buildings and renovations

It is now standard practice to use green construction and demolition techniques for the reuse, removal and recycling of building materials at the University of Alberta. These techniques have already been showcased in several major projects.

When renovating the Civil Engineering wing, for example, more than 200 thirty yard bins of refuse were sent to recyclers instead of the landfill. Materials recycled included drywall, steel studs, steel piping, galvanized iron, sheet metal, coils, copper and masonry. Additionally, brick from the roof top machine room was reused in the construction.

During the renovation of Enterprise Square, material from the demolition was salvaged for recycling and reuse. The efforts recovered in excess of 85 per cent of the interior demolition material, 75 per cent of the rooftop materials. 95 per cent of the steel and concrete refuse was recovered. The emergency generator was removed and transferred to South Campus for use as a backup. In addition, 414,000 pounds of exterior Tyndall stone was removed from the building and is now being used in multiple projects including the gateway signs located around all university campuses.

Swap office supplies

In 2017-18, university staff can swap extra offices supplies using the Swap n' Trade Facebook group. It is a way to share university-purchased supplies such as stationary or filing supplies.

Join the group

Did You Know?

The University of Alberta's Sustainability Plan sets a waste diversion goal of 50 per cent by 2015. The university is already well on its way there, with a current diversion rate of 30 per cent.