How York plans to reduce Congress’ ecological footprint

For York’s Facilities Services, the prospect of 8,000 delegates descending upon York for the eight-day 2006 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences next month posed a challenge. For one thing, the event coincides with the date set to achieve 50- per-cent waste reduction on campus and so many visitors could generate an awful lot of waste.

But Facilities Services will take measures to minimize the waste and continue working towards the University’s recycling and sustainability goals. During the event, May 27 to June 3, it is giving delegates reusable mugs, putting out more recycle bins and providing electric golf carts, among other things, to reduce the ecological footprint that such a huge gathering could make.

Each delegate will be encouraged to use the hot/cold beverage holder  (pictured above) they will receive at registration, instead of disposable styrofoam and paper containers. The insulated mugs are compliments of Facilities Services and its vendors.

In 1990, York adopted a policy to achieve a 50-per-cent waste reduction by the year 2000. To date, the University has achieved a 40-per-cent reduction but aims to achieve 50 per cent by the end of next month.

“To ensure we stay on target during Congress, Facilities Services will be providing increased recycling and waste stations in the lecture & seminar and hospitality areas with an on-demand collection schedule,” says Kimberley Glaze, communications manager, Facilities Services. The effort has already begun with a new collection of used paper towels which are recycled.

In addition, Facilities Services will take other measures to improve campus sustainability during Congress. To reduce the use of vehicular traffic and emissions, it will provide the Congress team with three electric golf carts for transportation of physically challenged delegates and to make any needed deliveries. And in anticipation of increased pedestrian activity around a campus in full bloom, crews will place wood chips on the natural walking paths in the Common to control erosion and further compaction.

“Facilities is committed to ensuring that every day is a positive experience for the delegates and that they enjoy York’s environmental and aesthetically pleasing aspects,” says Joseph Sanguedolce, Facilities Services Congress representative. “The facilities team will have an increased presence during Congress to ensure that the delegates enjoy all the beauty and community spirit York University has to offer.”