Reduce, Reuse, Recycle your way to a more sustainable campus

Do you remember that slogan growing up, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”? It just rolls of the tongue now, but those principles can be easily forgotten. These three R’s can have a significant impact on our environment, so I’ve compiled ways we can implement them on Queen’s campus as food consumers!

  1. REDUCE, Reuse, Recycle:
  • Take Less, Waste Less. Worldwide, a staggering 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted (FAO, 2017). Food that is not eaten means the land, soil, and water needed to produce food is wasted. Our eyes can be bigger than our stomachs in the dining halls!
    To reduce waste, try: 1. Starting with one portion (which includes mixing and matching items from different stations) 2. Go back up for seconds if you’re still hungry.  3. Share an extra entree with a friend! Remember: Every plate counts!
  • Try a meatless day. Heard of “Meatless Monday’s”? Eating less meat is not only a great way to get more veggies on your plate, but it also benefits the planet. Look for the vegan and vegetarian symbol and find the list of vegan-friendly options around campus here:
  1. Reduce, REUSE, Recycle:
  • Did you know Queen’s doesn’t sell bottled water? Students, staff, and faculty have access to 190 drinking fountains, 35 bottle-fill stations, and a variety of Q water stations across campus, including our three dining halls, Mac Corry and Khao. Make a sustainable choice and fill up your reusable water bottle when you’re passing through these locations!
  • Remember to use your own reusable mug when purchasing tea or coffee on campus. This will not only keep your beverage hot for longer, but you can also divert paper cups from going to the landfill. PS – Don’t forget to grab a BYO-ECO beverage card. When you buy 7 tea/coffee with your BYO-ECO beverage card, the 8th cup is free! PLUS you only get charged a small size. Win Win!
    Since October 2018, the ECO beverage card has diverted over 6,400 disposable cups on campus. That’s a big deal!
  • Hospitality Services started charging $0.05 for each plastic bag last year and put the money towards sustainability practices on campus. As a result, we were able to divert thousands of bags from landfills last year. How can you support? Why not carry a reusable bag in your backpack instead?
  1. Reduce, Reuse, RECYCLE:
  • Did you notice Hospitality Services switched to paper straws this year in our retail units? By doing so, we are diverting approximately 284,000 plastic straws from the landfill and ocean. Help us make a bigger impact and opt for no straw with your next drink!
  • Most Hospitality Services packaging in Queen’s retail brands are biodegradable, compostable or recyclable including: take-out sandwiches and salad packages, soup bowls, plastic and paper bags, clam-shell containers, paper straws, cardboard, cans, plastic and glass. Tips to reduce single use products: 1. Bring your own reusable cutlery 2. Opt for no lid or sleeve with your beverage (if you forget your reusable mug).
  • Did you know? When recycling bins contain 7% garbage, it becomes garbage. Over 85% of current waste on campus can be diverted. Watch for the multi-sort containers across campus to actively help with waste diversion on campus. Follow the pictures and text on these containers to ensure proper sorting or watch this video by Queen’s Sustainability to learn more!

Let’s all make strides to create a more sustainable campus. Every plate, reusable mug, water bottle, straw, bag and effort to recycle brings us one step closer to making a BIG impact.  Our planet will thank us! For more information on how Queen’s Hospitality Services supports these sustainable initiatives, visit:


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