By 2030, UBC will apply a circular economy lens to enable a 50% reduction in waste, progressing toward a zero-waste community.
While UBC’s reported GHG emissions from waste disposal are a very small fraction of overall emissions, waste-related emissions are much higher when considering life cycle emissions that include production of goods and materials – analogous to what is included in embodied carbon calculations for construction. In 2019, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation reported that 45% of 2050 global emissions reductions will need to address production of goods and materials, and circular economy strategies could eliminate almost half of these emissions.
A Zero Waste Action Plan update planned for 2022 will more strongly prioritize emissions reductions opportunities such as reuse, apply a circular economy lens, and address barriers that have limited progress toward UBC’s zero waste goals to date.
Actions - Immediate - Starting Fall 2021 to 2022
- Initiate a process for updating the Zero Waste Action Plan, which will include refining and integrating the actions below.
- Complete the planning and resourcing for launch of a scalable reuse program that includes furniture, residence items, and scientific equipment.
Short Term - by 2024
- Fund, develop, and implement the Waste Operations Strategy (implemented through Building Operations), which will provide critical waste management infrastructure and business process updates needed to reach our zero waste goals.
- Scope and develop a central sustainable procurement program that could include vendor and product sustainability criteria, packaging requirements, updated procurement guidelines and processes, and integration with the Integrated Renewal Plan (UBC’s enterprise level IT systems upgrade).
Take Action Now
From reducing your consumption, exploring options for reuse and repair, purchasing sustainably, and recycling, learn how you can help UBC build a zero-waste community and reduce the number of items that go to landfill -- and find the resources and programs to support you.