Waste Audit at Renison College

by: Greg Macdonald

Course: ERS 285, 1996
Professor: George Priddle


Renison college is the Anglican church college affiliated with the University of Waterloo. During the summer 17 students call Renison home while 170 students live there in the fall and winter terms. The purpose of this project is to determine how much waste is coming from the food services of Renison college, to determine what percentage of that waste is compostable, and to determine how much waste would be generated by the 170 fall / winter students using the data from 17 students. The final objective is to understand whether or not a composting program would be beneficial and feasible at Renison college.

To conduct the audit I had the kitchen staff separate the waste into non-compostable and compostable bins. The waste generated by the kitchen (mostly veggie peelings) was kept separate from the waste generated by the students plate scrapings (mostly fruit peels and rinds). At the end of the day I would weigh the kitchen compostables, kitchen non-compostables, student compostables, and student non-compostables. I would also record general comments about the type of waste. The kitchen staff were very cooperative and without their help this project would never have been possible.

Upon analysing the results it was determined that 34 students (there were extra summer students living at Renison) at Renison college produce roughly 19kg of garbage per day. Of this garbage 34% of it is compostable. Taking into account fewer people on Fridays and weekends it is hypothesised that 170 students would produce between 25 and 35 kg of compostables per day. I believe this figure to be overly optimistic and thus the thus of a 3-bin turning unit composter would be prudent. There is no doubt in my mind that composting would work at Renison and that a 3-bin unit would be able to handle the majority of the waste.

This project is available for viewing by the UW community.

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Last updated: September 30, 1996