Dec. 7, 2021Print | PDF
Rather than storing dead batteries, small broken electronics or burnt-out lightbulbs in a drawer or tossing them into the garbage, Laurier students, staff and faculty can now recycle these items properly through an e-waste bin, thanks to the efforts of two third-year students.
The Convenience Bin, located in the Concourse near the Starbucks on the Waterloo campus, has three compartments, for light bulbs, batteries and small electronics. It will be emptied regularly and the contents sent to a local disposal centre for safe and green recycling.
“It’s called the Convenience Bin because while students are on campus or grabbing a coffee at Starbucks, they can just toss their batteries and go on with their day,” says Nathan Lam, a Political Science and Law student. “We thought if we kind of incorporate it into a spot where people are already going to go, then they would be less likely to toss their e-waste into the garbage, where it can have a negative impact on the environment.”
The bin began as a final project in a first-year sustainability class after friends Lam and Reena Sakran, a Business Administration student, realized there was nowhere for them to throw out their used batteries. With encouragement from the class’s teaching assistant, they pitched their Smart Hawk Recycling project to the Sustainability Campus Committee, in charge of reviewing pitches for the Laurier’s Sustainable Hawk Fund, and their funding request was accepted.
Laurier’s Sustainability Office and Grounds Services team helped Lam and Sakran find a bin, purchased through ClearRiver Recycling Solutions – where most of Laurier’s bins are sourced – and Sakran designed a logo, which the company printed onto the side of the bin.
Since the bin was added in November, it has been quickly filling and Lam and Sakran have received a lot of positive feedback, especially from faculty members who had been holding onto their e-waste. If there is a lot of interest in the bin, Lam and Sakran may apply for funding again next year to bring more e-waste bins to campus.
Laurier’s Sustainability Office is now accepting applications for the Sustainable Hawk Fund, which provides $30,000 annually to grow sustainability ideas that benefit the Laurier community. The application period closes on Jan. 14.
The fund is open to Laurier students, faculty and staff who have project ideas that align with at least one of Laurier’s Sustainability Action Plan themes, including waste, climate, engagement and diversity.
This year, the Sustainability Office has established two new funding streams to ensure equal access to the program: one for sustainability projects led by Black or Indigenous people or people of colour or that focus on issues related to sustainability, race and equity, with a total of $5,000 available; and another for Brantford-led sustainability projects, with $15,000 available.