Students push plaza to recycle

Menchies has confirmed they are ordering recycling bins. (File photo by: Nick Lachance)
Menchies has confirmed they are ordering recycling bins. (File photo by: Nick Lachance)

Sustainable waste disposal practices may not be as readily available in Waterloo as we think.

The ability to recycle was simply not presented as an option until recently for the businesses occupying the King and University plaza. Home to popular venues such as Starbucks, Menchie’s and Pizza Pizza, this plaza generates a massive amount of waste — waste which is in large part recyclable.

Wilfrid Laurier University’s EcoHawks club launched an investigation into the waste management at the plaza, discovering that nearly all of the occupants did not recycle their waste.

Though each of the businesses expressed an interest in sustainable waste removal, they were not aware of any opportunity for them to do so.

Susie Turner, who holds the internal affairs position for EcoHawks, organized the recycling inquiry at the popular plaza.

“This position is quite open as an opportunity for EcoHawks members to be able to encourage awareness in the student body and also to act on issues that they are really passionate about,” Turner explained.

“This was something that I was personally interested in being able to do. So this semester we went over our ideas and committed to looking into recycling at the University and King plaza. A couple of the members did research as to whether or not it was available and how businesses go about getting recycling at their franchise in Waterloo.”

Turner explained that after some investigation, her team discovered that the property owners of the plaza had in fact made recycling available to the businesses. They had not, however, passed this message along to the businesses.

“So when we went back to give that news to the businesses and let them know, they were really excited but they also were not sure because the bins were not labelled to say that they could recycle in the back,” Turner said.

They were able to call Waste Management and confirm what needed to be done in order to re-label the bins.

“So right now where we are at is that all of the businesses are asking property management to properly label the bins and both Menchie’s and Starbucks have confirmed that they are ordering recycling bins for customers to use in the front,” Turner said.

Jamie Gilliland, the store manager at Menchie’s confirmed that he was going to be purchasing recycling bins that would be available for customer use.

Emma Ilaqua, an employee at Menchie’s and a third-year student at Laurier, was surprised that the property management did not provide recycling when she began working at Menchie’s in May.

“It was always talked about, but it hasn’t happened until now.”
She explained that the high volume of customers made recycling  an unfeasible option until now.

The Cord inquired at Starbucks about their participation in the recycling project. A store manager, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed that the store had ordered a recycling bin for customer use.

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