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RED Forum Goes GREEN

May 6, 2019

RED Forum is one of our favourite days of the year. Not only do we get to meet and engage with people from around the College, but there is always something new and interesting to do and learn.

Large events can have large environmental impacts which is why we have partnered with RED Forum to help make it greener. Planning an event with a small environmental footprint can be hard without the right tools and resources to help you. We’ll be launching a Green Event Guide soon to help you green your College event, but in the meantime our partnership with RED Forum is a great opportunity to not only demonstrate the College’s commitment to sustainability but to also showcase some of the ways to help make any event a little greener.

To help RED Forum Go Green we need your help! Here’s a list of what you can do to green your RED Forum experience and what we’re doing too:

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Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle this Waste Reduction Week – and Always!

October 16, 2018

RRC is celebrating Waste Reduction Week from Monday October 22nd to Friday October 26th to engage and raise awareness on how much waste we as individuals create, and the easy changes we can make to reduce this. This is also an opportunity to celebrate the changes we have made, and the impacts both of these can make on the health of our planet environmentally, socially and economically.

Since the 1950’s 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been generated globally. Only 23% of those plastics have been recycled, and it is estimated another 12 billion tonnes of plastic will end up in the landfill by 2050.

 

About 40% of all waste produced at RRC is diverted from the landfill through reuse, recycling or composting. This is our chance to mindfully take a look at our behaviors, actions and habits and evaluate what we are doing well and what we need to change.

Join in on our events this Waste Reduction Week to learn more about yourself and your consumption habits, and make some easy changes with a BIG impact. RRC offers a variety of waste reduction programs available to all staff, faculty and students, so take a look and make sure you’re using them all!

Here are a list of the events happening:


Get Caught in The Act – Use your Reusables!

Monday, October 22 – Friday October 28th | Mystery | NDC & EDC

Get Caught in the Act reducing your waste by using reusable materials such as reusable cutlery, water bottles, coffee mugs, bags or containers, and WIN! The Sustainability Office will be trolling the NDC and EDC hallways between Monday October 22 and Friday October 26 waiting to catch you using your reusable items and handing out some great prizes. But why wait, start now! #CaughtInTheActMB

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What’s that buzz?… it’s the BEES!

June 28, 2018

The bees are back at RRC! 

Welcome back our busy, buzzy little buddies to both NDC and PGI campus rooftops. For the third year in a row, we have partnered with Beeproject Apiaries to install three hives on the 4th floor patio at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, and for the second year, three hives on the roof of Building A at the Notre Dame Campus.

Bee hives on NDC Building A rooftop

Urban beekeeping is an important movement to promote biodiversity within cities and provide valuable educational and engagement opportunities for people to connect to nature and our local food system. Not only that, bees are an essential element to enable and sustain healthy food production.

Did you know, bee’s are the only insect in the world that make food that humans can eat? One out of every three bites of food we eat is a result of pollinators like honey bees, and crops like blueberries and cherries are 90% dependent on pollination.

Three hives are once again installed at PGI

On your next lunch break, take a walk around the NDC campus and check out our healthy, diverse and beautifully landscaped campus, maintained using only 100% biopesticides!). RRC is busy at work developing a pollinator garden on the NDC grounds to keep these bees and other native pollinators going and our environment flourishing. Stay tuned for updates as the site progresses. Read More →

Bike Week Inspiration with Breanna Sawatzky!

June 20, 2018

As you may know, this week is Bike Week, and what better time to dust off that bike and take it for a ride. So, with a ton of great events going on all week, lets get moving!

Not only is biking a great way to reduce your personal carbon emissions, but it has many other benefits on your physical health and mental wellbeing.

Our office sat down with Breanna Sawatzky, the College’s Mental Health Coordinator to discuss sustainable transportation.  Her role consists of many important facets such as drop-in counselling as well as training and education. Below Breanna answers some questions about her experience biking to work, and how it can positively affect your mental health.

Q: Tell me about yourself and your transportation strategies in the past?

A: I live in St. James and have a family of four, with one car. In the past, we would convoy together when we all worked downtown. When I started at the college, my husband and I would take turns either busing or taking the car, without really finding a method that worked better than the other. Our home is about 7km away from the campus so in reality it isn’t that far. Read More →

Introducing Pen, Battery and Bag Recycling on Campus!

April 27, 2018

RRC’s New ReBin

Much of what we do in the Sustainability Office starts with what we hear from staff and students. One recent survey showed that 63% of staff and faculty want to see non-standard recycling options on campus. You spoke. We listened.

After conducting a successful pilot project in 2016, we’re pleased to launch ReBin. Available to all staff and students, the ReBin accepts pens, batteries and plastic bags for recycling and repurposing.

 

 


All used writing instruments – pens, markers, mechanical pencils, highlighters- deposited in the “Pens & Markers” receptacle will be recycled through the Staples program. Plastics from these instruments are sorted by type and melted down to be reused in the creation of other plastic products, such as lawn chairs, flower pots, playgrounds, picnic tables and more!


Let’s reduce our risk of contaminating our soils and waterways with toxic chemicals by keeping batteries out of the landfill. Deposit small household batteries in the “Batteries” receptacle, where they will be consolidated and responsibly recycled by our partners at Call2Recycle.

If you have a large quantity of end of life batteries at home, or industrial batteries to dispose of, check out the list of battery drop off locations throughout Winnipeg.


I think we can all admit that plastic bags are one of those items we tend to collect, intentionally or not. Don’t we all have a drawer or cupboard shelf of stockpiled bags? Of course, refusing plastic and choosing reusable is your best bet. But with this program you’ll also have the opportunity to purge your plastic by depositing them in the ReBin.

In partnership with MMSM (Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba), Winnipeg Harvest and the RRC Students Association, all plastic bags collected will be donated to Winnipeg Harvest’s Bag It Forward Program which supplies emergency food kits to more than 64,000 Manitobans monthly. Any bags that can’t be reused will be recycled at a local facility.


Make sure to look for these new bins in the hallway outside the NDC Campus Store and in the Library, and outside the Campus Store at the Roblin Centre campus.

This is a posi+ive change we can all get behind!

Groundskeeper wins Sustainability Leadership Award. Let’s (compost) pile on the accolades.

April 13, 2018

Congratulations to Brady Barron for receiving this year’s BRAVO Award for Sustainability Leadership. This award is a recognition of his dedication, innovation and commitment to sustainability here at RRC.

Figure 1 - Brady monitors the temperature of the compost pile at NDC

Figure 1 – Brady monitors the temperature of the compost pile at NDC

Brady has been a valued part of the College community for nearly 10 years, first as a graduate of the Greenspace Management Program (2012) and then as a Groundskeeper at the Notre Dame Campus. Brady’s up at the crack of dawn tending to the College’s grounds and parking lots in rain, sleet and snow. Throughout his work, Brady maintains a keen eye for sustainability, often going above and beyond.

Brady plays a vital role in the College’s pre-consumer compost program. Since 2002, fruit and vegetable food scraps from the cafeteria kitchens and coffee grounds from our NDC Tim Hortons locations are collected daily and transported by the Grounds crew to compost piles located at the back of the campus. This program has kept an average of 34 tonnes of food waste from the landfill every year, diverting a record 48 tonnes in 2017. In addition, approximately 2 tonnes of yard waste is collected annually from the College grounds and added to the compost pile, ensuring the proper balance of carbon to nitrogen. In addition to that, Brady monitors the temperature, moisture and density of the pile to make sure conditions are just right to create a safe, nutrient rich compost. Mixing the pile every 3 weeks until done, he then proceeds to screen the material and finally using it for landscaping and in flower beds throughout campus.

Figure 2 - Total organic waste diverted from landfill from NDC campus 2015-2018

Figure 2 – Total organic waste diverted from landfill from NDC campus 2015-2018

Composting is an important part of a sustainable campus, as it reduces the amount of organic waste going to the landfill turning it into a rich, nutrient dense, valuable product that we use here on our grounds and gardens in landscaping. By composting, we are not only reducing our costs in waste hauling and turning our waste into a usable product, but we are also showing our commitment to sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing hazardous leachate production at the City landfill. Through Brady’s dedication, RRC operates a safe, healthy and successful pre-consumer compost program, with hopes of expansion in the future.

Congratulations Brady on this well deserved award. The College is lucky to have you!

Are you 18-30? Looking to Start a Green Career? Join us!

March 7, 2018

Canada Green Corps logoAre you a youth interested in starting a career in the sustainability sector, but having a hard time getting a foot in the door? If so, this may be the opportunity you’ve been looking for!

The United Nations Association of Canada’s (UNA-Canada) Canada Green Corps program connects un- and underemployed youth with employers in the green sector. Participating employers receive a subsidy to hire youth who bring their talents to the table and gain meaningful work experience, gain new skills, and make valuable connections to help kick start their green careers.

Here at the Sustainability Office we’re excited to be participating in the Canada Green Corps program. The Resource Reduction Assistant will play an essential role in establishing baseline data and developing programs and strategies that engage staff and students in campus sustainability. Over a six month term, the work will focus mostly on plug load energy and paper reduction interventions, however there will also be waste reduction and diversion components and an opportunity to work on other sustainability issues at the College. This position provides an exciting opportunity to be part of the planning and creation of sustainability programming at a large institution named one of Canada’s greenest employers. Read more about the position here.

Read More →

Please don’t leave the light on this holiday break

December 20, 2017

Someone pulling a cord to turn off a light

Don’t forget to shutdown all unnecessary lights and electronics before you leave for the break.

The winter break is fast approaching and we’re making a list and checking it twice – our seasonal shutdown checklist that is. With the College being closed for 10 days, we’re asking for your help to clean up and shut down before you leave for the holidays.

Over the break, the College’s major building systems will run in “Un-Occupied Mode”, which means lower temperatures and, in most cases, minimal ventilation.  This will reduce our energy consumption, and our environmental footprint, while the College is shutdown. We can increase that impact by everyone doing their part to ensure unnecessary lights and electrical equipment are shut down.

So, before you dash away into the night, please go over the checklist below to help save energy and reduce our collective footprint at the College this holiday season.

SEASONAL SHUTDOWN CHECKLIST

Red checkmark in a box DISPOSE OF PERISHABLES AND GARBAGE

Remove perishables and clean fridges
Collect, bag and dispose all garbage by December 21

Red checkmark in a boxTURN OFF ELECTRONICS

Monitors
Computers
Televisions/Digital Displays
AV Equipment, including Projectors
Power bars
NOTE: Printers should be left ON, they’ll go into energy saving mode on their own.

Red checkmark in a box UNPLUG APPLIANCES NOT IN USE

Electronics items use standby (or phantom) power even when you aren’t using them, so where possible unplug these items.

Fridges (turn the temperature up on fridges that can’t be unplugged)
Space heaters
Coffee makers
Kettles
Toasters/Toaster Ovens
Microwaves
Chargers
Water Coolers

Red checkmark in a boxTURN OFF LIGHTS

Offices
Classrooms
Meeting Rooms
Common Areas

SOME TIPS:

  • Lab equipment: Together with your colleagues identify equipment that can be safely turned off, unplugged, or placed in standby mode over the break.
  • Do a department walk-through to ensure valuables are secured; lock cabinets.
  • Activate alarms if applicable before you leave.
  • Set yourself a reminder in your calendar or on your phone (or even on a sticky note on the door) to remember to do your season shutdown checklist before you leave.
  • Set yourself a reminder for when you return from holidays to plug needed items in or turn them on.
  • Use this checklist for whenever you’ll be away for an extended period of time (long weekends, vacation, term breaks). When you book the time off in your calendar, add a reminder to do this as well with a link to this blogpost.
  • Don’t forget to water plants and feed and water vermicomposting worms!

Energy and paper reduction are consistently listed as sustainability priorities by RRC staff, prompting the recent addition of a Resource Reduction Specialist (Whitney Crooks) to the Sustainability Office. Whitney is looking forward to working with all of you in the new year on identifying opportunities for reducing paper and plug load energy use on campus. Until then, have a safe and happy holiday!

Bike Lockers – rent yours today!

October 15, 2017

We’re happy to tell you that bike lockers are now available for rent at the Notre Dame Campus. Seventeen bike lockers have been installed in high traffic locations around campus. The lockers have access doors on both ends and hold two bikes each – adding a total of 34 bike parking spots on campus. These lockers are ideal for regular bike commuters who want a place to lock their bike, bag and helmet in a secure place protected from the elements.

Rental Details:

  • Lockers cost $10/month, beginning on the first Monday of every month until the last Friday of the month. However during this kick off period, lockers rented in October will be valid until the end of November.
  • Personal locks aren’t permitted. You’ll be given a College-issued key for your locker.
  • Rentals are done in person at the Print Shoppe.
  • More info can be found here.

About the bike locker designs: In addition to improving end-of-trip facilities for cyclists, we wanted to give these big grey boxes (formerly known as our herd of elephants) a splashy makeover to animate our campus. We came up with the idea of showcasing prominent Winnipeg landmarks and the distance to travel to them by bike from campus. Our talented designer Marc executed this vision perfectly. We’re particularly fond of the FortWhyte Alive! design… What’s your fave? We still have some more lockers to complete. If you have a suggestion for a notable landmark you’d think should adorn one of our bike lockers, email us!

These bike lockers are part of RRC’s Transportation Plan. We’re committed to continuing to provide flexible, equitable and sustainable commuting options for students, staff and faculty. Find out more here.

Happy cycling.

Go on RRC, give GoManitoba a try

September 25, 2017

Here’s the deal… we know that 60% of staff and 50% of students are concerned about the environmental impacts of commuting. We also know that many staff want flexibility in their commuting options throughout the year and that 25% of students prefer to carpool to campus. For these reasons, and many more, Red River College is excited to introduce GoManitoba to students, staff and faculty.


GoManitoba is a province-wide commuting platform that matches you with carpool partners (drivers and/or riders) who live and work/ attend campus near you. The system also gives you transit options, walking and cycling routes, and matches you with commuting buddies. Students and staff have the option of matching with everyone on the GoManitoba site, or you can choose to limit your search to College-specific users/ ** Use your Red River College (rrc.ca) email address to ensure you get connected with RRC peers.

Registering and navigating the site is just a simple as creating and using your Facebook account, but if you need some help you can refer to this handy GoManitoba How to Guide.

Cutest air freshener I ever did see. Thanks Green Action Centre!

The free app can be download to your smartphone, tablet or desktop. GoManitoba works best when a critical mass of people sign on, so encourage your friends, family and colleagues to join. To sweeten the deal, the Sustainability Office is offering a $200 Commuter Care Package to one lucky Rebel who registers before November 30th. Green Action Centre, the provincial coordinator for this program, is also offering some ‘early adopter’ prizes for the first 5,000 registrants to the site.

Happy commuting everyone.

Launching GoManitoba is another way the College is promoting sustainable commuting to campus. Learn more about our plans and priorities by checking out our Transportation Plan.