Your Role ‑ Frequently Asked Questions


What’s my role?

Your role is to sort your waste at work and school the same way you do at home.

Your garbage can or waste bin has been replaced with brand new recycling and side-saddle bins. Here is how you use it:

Collect recyclables and paper in the blue bin and place garbage in the black side-saddle bin. When full, the blue and black bins should be emptied into the four-bin sorting station in the hallway/residence recycling room. All organics should be taken to the four-bin sorting station daily. This is to prevent organic materials from remaining in the office/residence space for longer than one day. You will be getting rid of food waste every day, which will cut down on smells, and be far less attractive for rodents or insects. Custodians are no longer responsible for emptying office bins and will be using that time elsewhere to manage the increased number of recycling and organics bins.

This handy PDF should help you figure out what goes where - PDF 58KB.

Where did my garbage can go?

Office and cubicle under-desk garbage cans have been replaced with new recycling and side-saddle bins. The bin is for paper, bottles, cans, plastics, and other recyclables. Users should bring their organic material to a main four-bin station daily. The small side-saddle bin is for garbage only. Custodial staff will not be emptying these bins.

Each staff, faculty and student with a bin is responsible for sorting their material regularly into four-bin systems (Paper, Recycling, Organics, Garbage - PROG) in hallways and other central areas.

This new system will help us be compliant with waste management policy, and support a university sustainability target of 70 per cent diversion from the landfill by 2020.

But I’m busy. I don’t have time to get up and sort my own garbage. That will take too long.

Office waste is currently a highly contaminated stream. The four-bin systems (Paper, Recycling, Organics, Garbage - PROG) will be located in central areas and easily accessible. Dalhousie is asking everyone to do the same kind of sorting at work that you do at home. If you have a bottle of water, put it in the recycling. If you have a banana, put the peel in the compost. If you have a regular disposable coffee cup, put the cup in the garbage and/or switch to a reusable mug.

This is confusing, what goes where?

An easy-to-understand guide illustrating what goes where will be distributed around campuses with new bins and placed prominently in key areas for reference. Students, faculty and staff can also access the guide online here. If you are not sure where something goes, ask a custodian, or put it in the waste. Things like coffee cups and lids (paper sleeves can be composted) are still garbage, so consider using a reusable mug.

Our buildings are very old and we have rodents and insects etc. Composting doesn’t seem like a very good idea.

The centrally located compost bin will be emptied every day. Before this change, if a person threw a banana peel or a sandwich wrapper with crumbs in their garbage can under their desk, it was only emptied once a week by custodial staff. Now once users properly sort their garbage daily, any garbage that might attract rodents will be removed faster.

That’s my garbage can! You can’t take it away.

Almost all the garbage cans currently used on campus are Dalhousie property. They will be taken away and be repurposed for recycling and organics elsewhere. The new recycling and side-saddle bins are provided free as part of this program to make the switch.  Office waste is currently a highly contaminated stream.

If a person used their personal finances to purchase their own garbage bin then that will remain, but custodians will not empty it.

If the department purchased extra recycling and organics bins to address volume needs then this will remain and will continued to be serviced. Facilities Management will be servicing more four-bin stations under this change.

Is this office standard unique to Dalhousie?

No, other organizations including local universities have made the switch to similar standards to help reduce contamination and meet waste management by-laws and provincial bans. The office standard has been adopted by departments like Facilities Management and has been implemented in new buildings since 2011 including Wallace McCain, CHEB and LMU.   

Are you going to be doing more waste education sessions on what goes where?

Yes, upcoming webinars and promotions will be planned, in addition to our up-to-date Waste Management Guide. Contact Facilities Management for any specific questions about composting, recycling, and waste management at