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Five things you didn't know you can recycle on campus

How to, Facilities Management and Development

By Batteries, electronic devices, pens, textbooks and more - learn how you can recycle commonly-found items on campus.

Waste Reduction Week in Canada takes place this October 21 to 27. The annual national campaign increases awareness around sustainable and responsible consumption habits. We’re sharing how you can recycle five commonly-found items with Ryerson’s Facilities Services and Sustainability team in Facilities Management and Development (FMD).

By recycling these items properly, you help to ensure they don’t end up in landfills. In some cases, the items can either be refurbished for reuse or taken apart so its components can be reused in the manufacture of other products.

Rechargeable and single-use batteries

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Batteries contain toxic metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel, so it’s important to recycle them properly to keep them from entering landfills and further harming the environment. Properly recycling batteries allows for the chemicals and metals they are made of to be potentially reused rather than leaching out and contaminating groundwater supply.

Once you’re done with them, bring used batteries to one of the campuses’ battery recycling stations. To find a station near you, visit campus maps and select “Battery recycling stations” from the legend.

If you would like to suggest a location for an additional battery recycling station, please contact the FMD Help Desk.

Electronic devices with storage systems

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For Ryerson-owned electronic devices with storage systems (e.g. computers, smartphones, external harddrive, etc.), faculty and staff are encouraged to contact the Computing and Communications (CCS) Help Desk for guidance wiping confidential information.

Once your device is wiped and ready for disposal, please submit a service request to FMD to arrange for your item’s pickup by a member of the FMD team.

Tip: We ask that you not place electronic devices in hallways or stairwells while waiting for pickup. We find garbage in the wrong place invites more garbage in the wrong place, plus you might be blocking passageways and fire exit pathways.

Used ink and toner cartridges

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Much like batteries, ink and toner cartridges contain toxic chemicals that can harm the environment if they end up in landfills. Follow these steps to correctly dispose of your ink and toner cartridges:

  1. Place the old cartridge in the original plastic bag and box it arrived in, if retained. Otherwise, place the old cartridge in the new cartridge packaging. It’s important that the toner is bagged to prevent leakage.
  2. Use the return label provided in the box. If no label is provided or if it has been lost, follow the link for your brand to access the appropriate printable label.
    • Brother: Navigate to the “Brother Canada Cartridge Collection Program” section and enter your cartridge item number to generate the correct label.
    • Canon: Complete the form to generate a new label for each cartridge return.
    • Hewlett-Packard (HP): Enter your details to print or order postage-paid shipping materials.
    • Kyocera: Select “Ontario” to access the correct “Print a Return Label” form.
    • Lexmark: You can print this label or you may choose to leave Lexmark cartridge boxes labeless. Shipping and Receiving has labels for Lexmark only.
  3. Reseal the box with tape.
  4. Bring the sealed, labelled box to Ryerson Central Receiving location at 105 Bond Street, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Alternatively, you can request a pickup from the Ryerson mail delivery staff for your area.

If you are using a printer or fax machine not labelled with a CCS tag, try searching online for the brand and “cartridge recycling” for details. Most companies have free-of-charge recycling programs.

Pens, markers and other writing utensils

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In partnership with Staples Canada and TerraCycle, you can recycle your used writing utensils like pens (including felt tip pens), highlighters, markers, correction fluid pots, correction tapes, mechanical pencils and eraser pens regardless of their brand or composition on campus. What’s more, for every writing instrument recycled, $0.02 will be donated to Earth Day Canada!

Once collected, the writing instruments are separated by material composition, then cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products, including patio furniture. Learn more about the recycling process of writing utensils through this program.

Once you’re done with your writing utensils, follow these steps:

  1. Find a box (e.g. office supplies, shoebox, etc.).
  2. Download the Staples Recycling Accepted Waste Poster and attach it to the box.
  3. Put the box in a common space in your area (e.g. photocopy room, front desk, etc.) and tell your colleagues about it.
  4. When the box is full, seal it with tape and bring it to Ryerson Central Receiving location at 105 Bond Street, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Alternatively, you can request a pickup from the Ryerson mail delivery staff for your area. They will return it to Staples for recycling.

Note: Wooden pencils, chalk, glue sticks, erasers, rulers or other cutting objects are not eligible for this program.

Old textbooks and course packs

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On the lower ground floor of the Student Campus Centre (SCC) outside of CopyRITE Printing Service, you will find a “Textbooks for Change” dropbox where you can donate post-secondary textbooks, study guides, course packs, foreign language textbooks and other study materials that are less than 15 years old. This program is made possible by Textbooks for Change and allows for the materials to either be reused by students or recycled efficiently.

Stay tuned for more initiatives as part of Waste Reduction Week in Canada 2019, including catching us at the Environment and Urban Sustainability Students' Association Sustainability Fair on October 25, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Student Learning Centre (SLC).