Plans to tackle paper waste come on top of other green initiatives

by | Nov 1, 2019 | Campus News, News, North

Donna Akbari
News Reporter

Where some Humber students see a printer in the LRC building, Alliyah Somcio sees piles of wasteful copies made by students who need to up their environmental game.

“The excess use of paper in the library when students use the printer, they end up leaving used paper,” The first-year Early Childhood Education student said there is an excessive use of paper with the library printer. Much of it is wasted, she said.

“They aren’t very responsible,” Somcio said. “Students do this unknowingly — sometimes they just forget that they already printed something and reprint it. But we should think about the impact that each print makes and take the effort to double-check if we already printed.”

Alliyah Somcio, a first-year student of the Early Childhood Education program said students need to think about the impact that each print makes and take effort to double check if it’s already printed. (Donna Akbari)

Other than the issue of paper, she finds Humber is quite the eco-friendly college.

“I’ve seen that Humber College makes a lot of emphasis on the importance of sustainability from the way that the building is constructed — the windows especially stick out the most — Humber has large glass windows that not only provide a great view but also reduces the use of lights,” Somcio said.

As a student going to her classes one of the things she said she takes pride in the Water Bottle Refill stations.

“It’s not something big and impressive but it has had a lot of impact on students,” she said. “I’ve seen students, my own classmates and even myself bring their own water bottle to fill up rather than using wasteful plastic bottles.”

Somcio said the refill stations are one of the successful campaigns of the Office of Sustainability.

“The Water Bottle Refill Stations has been met with extreme positivity, which had been in part the reason why we were able to reduce 28 per cent of water usage per student,” said Spencer Wood, president of the Office of Sustainability.

“Humber College has come a long way in sustainability,” Wood said. “We’ve been able to not only reduce our water but also we’ve had a 15 per cent reduction rate in our energy usage per square foot since 2014 and we still have further projects underway.

“Our goal by 2030 is to have a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases,” he said

Lindsay Walker, vice-president of the Office of Sustainability, said she hopes to guide Humber College students to be eco-friendlier by using one of the institutional learning outcomes.

“For example, a nursing student. The provincial ministry says you will teach nursing and it will include these things and when they graduate they must know X, Y, Z and at Humber we’ll teach them our Humber Institutional learning outcomes and those outcomes include sustainability, equity and diversity and inclusion, systems thinking, Indigenous knowledge which is based on the feedback from our community and what is important to them,” Walker said.

“Paper waste is a big issue at Humber Campus right now,” she said. “IT is re-deploying all the prints across the campus and I’m working with them to make sure that all defaults are standardized on the printers so all of them are double-sided.

“All of them are hold and release,” Walker said. “One of the main issues is that people will print and then forget that they’ve printed and then print again. So (now) you have to walk up to the printer and let it print, that saves a lot of paper and that it’s phase one for a paperless college.”

Wood said sustainability is one of Humber’s key principles.

“We should be living it,” he said.