The Office for Sustainability encourages each of us to remain mindful of Sheridan’s aim to eliminate all waste going to landfill as we declutter and refresh our workspaces. They have outlined easy-to-follow guidance, using the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” framework, to help you redirect unwanted items and tangibly demonstrate Sheridan’s culture of waste reduction and reuse to others in our community. Check out our Office Clean Up Resources page for more.
The Office for Sustainability (OfS) is delighted to announce that the launch of the Mission Zero Freeuse Pop Up Shop in Fall 2022 was a success, all thanks to the Sheridan community for promoting a culture of reuse and waste reduction on campus! The thrill of thrifting was bought to campus with Mission Zero hosting 14 pop up shops, collecting nearly 3,000 lbs of donations, and engaging with 1,900+ shoppers.
More events to come in 2023! — Sheridan students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to donate items that are in good/working condition from the list of acceptable items below, which will be collected, sorted, and offered back to the Sheridan community for reuse (free of charge!) during periodic Mission Zero Freeuse Pop Up Shop events.
Have items you’d like to donate? Place items in labelled red bins located behind library desks at each campus (Davis, HMC, and Trafalgar). At Trafalgar, you can also pick up a labelled red bin from the mailroom (room A134) between 10:30 am-2:30 pm Monday-Thursday, take the bin to your workspace and place your donations inside, and then email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for pickup!
If you have items that cannot be accepted for reuse as part of the Mission Zero Freeuse Pop Up Shop initiative, please consider donating to other local charities.
Before you toss an item in the bin, stop and think if it can be used for another purpose or by someone else. The attitude of REUSE begins with a mindset that materials and products have usefulness beyond the owner’s original intention.
Do you know someone who actively participates in Meatless Mondays? Who goes out of their way to pack a reusable water bottle wherever they go? Who composts or fights food waste?
If a classmate, colleague, professor, or student, comes to mind, we encourage you to put their name forward for “My Mission Zero Hero” – a Sheridan Green Team-organized campaign open to anyone who studies or works at Sheridan.
Now in its second year, My Mission Zero Hero aims to recognize all Sheridan community members whose “green” contributions, big or small, show they are passionate about making a positive change for their environment and community.
Sustainability is top of mind for many, right now. And while tackling global climate change can seem daunting, small actions in our daily life can make a big difference. We want to show our appreciation for Sheridan’s planet-saving superheroes who have made a positive impact for sustainability at Sheridan and beyond.
Submissions, which include a short written and photo component, will be curated and shared on Sheridan’s social media channels and other digital platforms from March to April and wrap-up with a final recognition of all heroes on Earth Day – April 22, 2022.
Deadline: Submit your Mission Zero Hero nomination by March 1, 2022
Looking for inspiration? Meet Sheridan’s 2021 Mission Zero Heroes.
What’s Mission Zero?
Mission Zero is Sheridan’s framework for institution-wide sustainability initiatives. It is an ambitious mandate to re-envision the College’s energy future, make significant reductions in its institutional footprint, and meet breakthrough performance targets.
It is guided by the institution’s Office for Sustainability and represents operational and cultural goals, driven by Sheridan’s Sustainability Policy. Mission Zero embodies the journey toward transformational systemic change and accelerates the creation of campus-wide sustainability culture.
Nominate a Hero
Click here to nominate your mission Zero Hero. Please submit the form by March 1, 2022
If you have a question about this campaign, please email email@example.com.
Thank you in advance for your participation in this campaign!
Sheridan Green Team
Our work on restoring campus biodiversity and community building is receiving nation-wide recognition. Canadian Museum of Nature’s jury has selected our project, From invasive to inclusive: creating community while restoring biodiversity, as one of the national finalists for the 2021 Nature Inspiration Awards.
The Office for Sustainability partnered with Sheridan’s Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support, a landscaping consultant and Oakvillegreen Conservation Association to create the Medicine Wheel Garden. It opened in 2017 and features native pollinator plants, as well as three Indigenous sacred plants: sweetgrass, sage and white cedar. The second plot of buckthorn was removed by Kyanase, an Indigenous enterprise supported by a non-profit affiliated with the Six Nations of Grand River. Around 900 community members, Sheridan staff and faculty members then planted 300 pots of native wildflowers and mixed grasses to create a thriving garden that attracts pollinators and provides wildlife habitats.
Both gardens are used for educational programs and workshops that are geared to students and the community at large. In 2018, Sheridan was recognized by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for its wildflower and pollinator program. Sheridan has also partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Carolinian Canada to take part in the Zone Garden Program that encourages the planting of native plants.
The winners in each award category will be announced Wednesday, November 24, 2021, during a virtual gala and online at nature.ca.
Congratulations to all the nominees for the 2021Nature Inspirations Awards! To learn about the work of our fellow nominees, please visit the Canadian Museum of Nature website.
In June, we encouraged everyone to explore biodiversity, and we shared some facts about native plants. Now, learn about what you don’t want to see in gardens and natural areas- invasive species!
Invasive plants are undesirable because they put local biodiversity at risk, negatively affecting native plants, wildlife, and their habitats. They do so by out competing native plants and altering natural areas because:
- They are usually the first plants growing leaves after the winter and the last plants with green leaves in the fall.
- They can thrive in poor or dry soil.
- They can grow faster than other plants, which means they can get more sunlight and nutrients.
- They spread very quickly and easily.
As a result, it is important to control their spread as much as possible. They also interfere with agriculture and forest regeneration, and often force costly restoration efforts due to their rapid spread (for more information, check out Ontario Invasive Plant Council).
Follow us to learn more!
Did you know that despite its name, Canada Thistle is actually from Europe? Or that Garlic Mustard is considered one of Ontario’s most aggressive forest invaders, displacing native wildflowers like trilliums? This month, follow along on Twitter and Facebook to learn about invasive plants that can be found in gardens, neighbourhoods, and natural areas. We’ll share some facts and photos of common ones like Canada Thistle, Garlic Mustard, and Common Buckthorn (see photos below), which we have come across in our Wildflower and Medicine Wheel gardens at the Trafalgar campus.
Photos from left to right: Canada Thistle, Garlic Mustard, Common Buckthorn (photos by: Alison Feist; Credit Valley Conservation; and Andreea Bosorogan).
You can also help track these species so that the province can control their spread and be aware of where they have been spotted at EDDMapS Ontario– Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System.
It is important that we maintain biodiversity so that local ecosystems can continue to thrive and contribute to the wellbeing of humans and the planet. Ensuring we remove invasive plants can help native plants thrive and support important processes, like attracting pollinators (who work hard to fertilize our food), which contributes to earth’s natural processes!
Connect with us on social media or firstname.lastname@example.org to share what you’ve been able to identify this summer!
As the weather gets warmer, many are getting outside more and are reconnecting with nature while enjoying its health and wellness benefits.
While outside, a great way to connect with nature is to learn more about its biodiversity in local neighbourhoods and nearby natural areas. Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth, as all species are interconnected and help contribute to the stability and health of ecosystems. For example, bees are important to biodiversity because they pollinate (or fertilize) flowers and fruits. So, they are essential to the food we eat as well as the plant life found in ecosystems (See Canadian Wildlife Federation for more facts). It is valuable to become more familiar with pollinators (such as bees), native plants, and wildlife, as they are all important to sustaining the health of the planet.
Do you know why native wildflowers are attractive to Monarch Butterfly and Bumble Bees? Which grass can store carbon dioxide and thus help fight climate change? For the month of June, we’ll be helping everyone explore biodiversity by sharing some interesting facts (on Facebook and Twitter) about native wildflowers, grasses, and wildlife in Canada.
There are also many ways to help protect and support biodiversity locally:
1. Try planting native wildflowers at home: This will support pollinators, provide habitat to animals, and create a beautiful view. Wildflowers and grasses attract pollinators like bees, birds, butterflies, and insects, and there are many native plant species to choose from (check out Sheridan’s Wildflower Garden and Medicine Wheel Garden) that will thrive in conditions suited to different spaces.
2. Celebrate biodiversity through joining the conversation around themed days this month:
- June 8th is World Oceans Day: Share with others the importance of biodiversity in oceans and water bodies, and how waste negatively affects marine and plant life. Do your part by reducing single use plastics, and consider participating in future shoreline cleanups once they resume.
- June 22nd-28th is National Pollinator Week: Help support pollinators by planting native wildflowers, or observe pollinators in greenspaces during a walk. Join the conversation using #pollinatorweek and learn from others about pollinators.
Connect with us through social media or email@example.com to let us know how you’re exploring biodiversity this month, and what you’ve been able to identify!
Last week, our Robbie shows why sorting waste is essential for everyone. This week, Robbie wants to talk about single-use plastics.
In this short video, Robbie provides tips on how to reduce waste from single use plastics. Hope you’ll enjoy it. Don’t forget to share it with your colleagues and students!
You can learn more about our waste bin program here.
In this short video, Robbie shows why sorting waste is essential for everyone. Hope you’ll enjoy it. Don’t forget to share it with your colleagues and students!
You can learn more about our waste bin program here.
By Michael Melro
The Facilities Services department and the Office for Sustainability of Sheridan College have begun construction on Phase One of its new district heating and cooling system at the Trafalgar campus.
There are currently six boiler plants, spread across the campus that provides heat to each building on campus. This configuration leads to inefficient distribution of heating and cooling. Boilers and chillers that are too large relative to the loads they serve turn on for a moment then off again, wasting energy in the process.
The ultimate goal of the project is to move beyond these wasteful and outdated energy practices, by introducing a new system that will centralize all of the college’s mechanical equipment into one location.
“The proposed solution to this problem is to provide all of the heating for the entire campus from one location in the basement of C wing through a new central plant,” Facilities Project Manager Katherine Rinas said. “This new plant will also be using combined heating and power technology, or CHP.”
You can think of CHP essentially as engines that produce electricity. This new district energy system is meant to help conserve energy while being as efficient as possible. This is embodied by how the CHP reuses any energy rejected by the plant, cycling excess heat produced back into the network of pipes.
The first phase is to install piping throughout the exterior parts of the campus. “The piping is actually a cool piece of technology. The steel portion has thinner walls compared to typical Canadian piping. It’s very durable, it is incased in plastic with foam surrounding the pipe, it comes pre-insulated and there is an integrated leak detection system,” Rinas said.
Sheridan will be the first post-secondary institution in Ontario to use this network of piping for a District Energy System.
The “network” is similar to a telephone or fiber line. It will be the supply and return lines for the super heated water running through the system. Campus heating water is currently supplied to buildings at 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit and returns to the plant about 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. With the new system in place, the water will be supplied at temperatures close to 212 degrees F, with return water as much as 50 degrees F cooler.
This super heated water will run through the primary pipes, while the secondary loop will have cooler temperatures, feeding all of the terminal devices on the campus.
It’s a closed loop circuit, so the water is pumped into the system only once, staying in the pipes for very long periods of time, reducing any wasteful water usage.
With this first step already underway, Sheridan hopes to become one of the most energy efficient institutions in the country. Construction of the first phase is expected to be done before Christmas break.
Purchasing coffee or tea has been part of the daily routine for most Canadians. Most people use disposable cups rather than bringing reusable ones. Many of them use multiple cups a day without thinking of the cost of a coffee cup and its environmental impact. At Sheridan, it is estimated that during the semester, more than 80,000 coffee cups are sold in one month and only 1% of the customers bring their own mugs. According to a City of Toronto research (2009), more than one million coffee cups are sent to landfills every day*. When stacked up, the height is equivalent to 216 CN Towers. As well, the production and shipping of a coffee cup with the paper sleeve emits about 0.11 kg. In our campus, coffee cups are collected with the organic waste through the Green Bin and then transported to a waste management facility where they are converted to electricity and fertilizers through a process called anaerobic digestion. This is a green process but it costs the College much more when compared to shipping the cups to landfills. Last year, the total amount of waste generated on campus was 1,448 tons. The organic waste produced accounted for 19% of the total weight but represented 35% of the total cost we paid to the waste hauler ($235,000).
So how can you help Sheridan reduce the cost and environmental impact caused by the coffee cups? The number one thing you can do is to bring your own coffee mug. You can also save $0.1 to $0.2 each cup. It can add up to a saving of $100 a year.
Below is the cost discount per cup from the various coffee outlets on campus:
- Tim Hortons: $0.10
- Second Cup: $0.20
- Coffee Loft: 10%
- Bruins Coffee House: 15%
Would you like to learn about more benefits of bringing your own mug? Please visit our Mission Zero “Get ‘MUGGED’ Campaign” booth! It is running during lunchtime at the busiest locations at Davis, HMC, and Trafalgar throughout the month of March!
Our Mission Zero volunteers will invite you to try out a couple of fun games which test your knowledge about coffee cups and share with you tips to reduce your ecological footprint. You will also be invited to enter a raffle to win a Sheridan coffee mug!
We hope to see you at our Mission Zero “Get Mugged Campaign” booth!