Paper Recycling at Queen’s University and its Waste Implications

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Date
2022-05
Authors
Ferguson, Olivia
Keyword
Life Cycle Assessment , Paper Recycling , Circular Economy
Abstract
The procurement and disposal of paper commodities presents a unique case in respect to municipal solid waste at Queen’s University at Kingston, ON. Using Queen’s University Admissions viewbook & Queen’s Alumni Review magazine as a case study, this thesis investigates how the procurement, distribution, and disposal of these paper commodities can be altered to better align with the Resource Productivity & Recovery Authority’s, Ontario Regulation 391/21, made under the Resource Recovery & Circular Economy Act, 2016. The aim of this project was to investigate whether printing volumes of these products were altered upon the onset of Covid-19, and how the lifecycle of these publications creates environmental implications. Using primary and secondary research, I concluded that a complex pathway exists in the end-of-life management of these products, due to their composition, and thus, compatibility with Kingston, ON, recycling programs. As such, alternatives to these documents including an online format present a more sustainable medium-- should these commodities continue to be produced. However, a purely digital delivery of these documents also displays environmental concerns, preventing Queen’s University from reaching its highest potential to align with the Resource Productivity & Recovery Authority’s legislation related to individual producer responsibility (IPR).
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