Four campuses, four ways to celebrate wasteless month

October is wasteless month for Sodexo Canada, a month dedicated to just that, wasting less. Every year, we challenge our employees and teams across the country to come up with sustainability initiatives that will help their sites produce less waste. Below are four examples from four campuses across Canada that we are immensely proud of. 

 

Weighing your waste

Sodexo Canada’s food service team at Trinity Western University (TWU) in BC celebrated wasteless month with both a Grounds4Growth and Weigh the Waste program, in addition to highlighting their vegan food station. The initiatives ran on campus for two weeks from October 19 -30, 2020. 

For the Weigh the Waste campaign, the TWU team literally weighed the food waste from students at the dining hall and showcased it both on-site and on their social media channels (Facebook and Instagram). The goal was to ‘shock and awe’, to create awareness for their students about how much food waste is created on campus. The food waste accumulated during that period (from Monday to Friday) weighed approximately 681 lbs – that’s 2.2 lbs of food wasted per student, per day!  

The team used the data collected to further engage with their student campus food committee and are in the process of creating a strategy to encourage students to waste less. They’ve even discussed the possibility of tying their sustainability efforts into meal donations towards a local community organization of their choice. The team hopes to spread the message to students across campus, that when they dine at their dining hall, it’s everyone’s responsibility to be mindful of the food they are throwing away, while also making smart food choices. 

Grounds4Growth was initiated on campus during the same period. The team gathered used coffee grounds from two Sodexo retail locations and the dining hall and packaged the coffee grounds into bio-degradable bags. During the two-week period, they collected 50 bags of coffee grounds. The used grounds collected were recycled for different purposes, such as fertilizer in indoor and outdoor gardens, an exfoliant for face scrubs, as insect repellent, for neutralizing odours, polishing cutlery, repairing furniture, stimulating hair growth, and other health purposes. The education for the re-use of coffee grounds in our daily lives was communicated through posters on-site and social media, inviting students to pick up their very own bag of used coffee grounds from the dining hall. Due to the success of the initiative, it is now a permanent program at Trinity Western University. 

 

Putting used coffee grounds to good use in the garden

St. Michaels University School is an Independent School in BC where the Sodexo team has been partnering with students, faculty and staff on the Grounds4Growth program for over 10 years! Used coffee grounds on campus are donated to the school’s staff and faculty members.

Paula Henchion, General Manager of St. Michaels University School, says:

“We send all our coffee grounds to the campus horticultural team and to faculty to take home for their own gardening projects. We started this about 10 years ago and it’s just been an ongoing partnership with one of our clients, Craig, who is the St. Michaels University School’s Head of Outdoor Education and Sustainability. Craig was happy to find a use for our used coffee grounds, and we always reach out to him for all things sustainable on campus, he’s a great guy, enthusiastic, energetic and collaborative.”

 

Going plant-based on campus

In honour of wasteless month, Sodexo’s food services team at Laval University in Quebec focused on a plant-based initiative during wasteless week in October. The dining hall featured a special plant-based dish: Vegan Enchiladas. The dish was added to their vegan food station and promoted via social media.  

The concept is akin to #MeatlessMondays. While going vegetarian or vegan isn’t for everyone, a small reduction of one meatless day a week can go a long way to helping the environment. Going meatless is helpful in reducing the risk of chronic preventable diseases and helps to reduce our global footprint. The meat industry uses up a vast amount of our precious resources like fossil fuels and water. According to Earthsave Canada, it takes 100 times more water to produce 1kg of animal protein than it does 1kg of plant protein. 

The team also implemented the Grounds4Growth program on-site, collecting and repurposed their used coffee grounds. 

 

Do you sort your waste correctly?

A lot of students were surprised to learn that many of our products are compostable (straws, burrito bowls, coffee stir sticks and smoothie cups) and there was some education required as to what is compostable vs. recyclable vs. garbage vs. refundable. A simple sorting guide was the outcome, something to display near the food waste bins to help students sort their waste properly after lunch.