Waste Reduction Education

by: Dale Crowley, Sean Elliot, Chris Hughes, John Kocjan

Course: ERS 285, 1994
Supervisor: James Kay


This project, Waste Reduction Education, involves a survey to quantitatively assess the current knowledge of the first year students at the University of Waterloo. This project accomplishes the following objectives:

The goal of ERS 285 (WATgreen) is to use the University of Waterloo campus as a laboratory to study environmental sustainability. Sustainability is the persistence over an apparently indefinite future of certain necessary and desired characteristics of the socio-political system and its natural environment (ERS, 1993). This project will hopefully lead to a more sustainable campus by providing results about the level of awareness on waste reduction to the appropriate sources who can take action. This action will increase student participation in reducing waste on campus and reduced waste means a more sustainable campus.

The University of Waterloo is affected by many systems and subsystems. WATgreen provides an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of present systems, and to examine future options that will meet the standards of sustainability.

An important aspect that must be studied is the information system. A study is needed to determine how efficient and effective the University of Waterloo is at transferring information about waste reduction programs on campus. The focus is placed upon first year students in order to initiate awareness at an early stage. To evaluate this system we needed to know what the first year students at the university know about the waste reduction programs, particularly about recycling and composting. In addition to this, data are needed concerning how students feel about the present methods of information transfer at the university. Student ideas are also needed on what could be changed to make these methods more effective.

To accomplish the objectives, 266 surveys were administered over a two- week period. This study will provide the results of this survey, analysis of the findings and recommendations for improving sustainability on campus.

A similar study completed for ERS 285 in 1991, titled Campus Attitudes, by Tracey Brown and Ricardo Marshall was used as the base for this study.

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Last updated: June 1, 1995 jjk