By Renata D’Aliesio
Oscar the Grouch would find tons of trash for his collection in Ryerson’s dumpsters.
Rye produces an average of 54 cubic-metres of garbage each day.
That is enough trash to fill about eleven of those blue garbage containers sitting outside Gould and Church Streets.
McMaster University in Hamilton, which has 280 more full- and part-time students, collects 130 metric tons of garbage per month. It’s dumping fees cost the school $117,000 annually, says Brian Kelly, service manager of material handling and trucking.
But universities are not the only big waste producers. Average Canadians are just as wasteful.
A report released two weeks ago by Environment Canada found Canadians are among the world’s leaders in trash production, tossing out 1.8 kilograms of garbage each per day.
We also lead the world in most energy used per capita. Canadians burn the equivalent of nearly 25 litres of gasoline every day. And when it comes to water use, we are only second, with 360 litres going down the drain per day.
“It has been estimated that if everyone on Earth lived as the average Canadian lives, two additional Earths would be required to provide all the resources needed to assimilate the wastes discharged,” says the 16-chapter report.
Sal Martinez, Ryerson’s manager of campus services, says people should be more selective when they throw out trash.
“We must start educating people when they’re kids on the concept of what can be thrown out and what can be saved.”
One way Ryerson could lighten the dumpster’s load is by getting rid of styrofoam use in the cafeteria. While the white foam used is biodegradable, using plates instead would help reduce waste.
Chris Plouffe, a second-year resident at Pitman Hall, said there was a big push last year to get rid of styrofoam at the cafeteria. But the enthusiasm didn’t last as most students became too lazy to bring dishes back downstairs.
Larry Sacks, production manager for Versa Foods, agrees laziness is hurting the environment.
“You wouldn’t believe the amount of cutlery and plates we found in the rooms over Christmas,” says Sacks. “Students should be more conscientious, but faculty is just as bad.”