UWinnipeg’s Organic Waste now Composted at The Forks

Oct 20, 2011 | Corporate Member News

The BIOvator® - compositing machine at The Forks

The University of Winnipeg is partnering with the Forks Renewal Corporation to send all campus food scraps, containers and cutlery to the Forks to be turned into compost for landscaping. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the two parties today which will see two to three truckloads a week of organic materials collected on campus composted by the Forks unique BIOvator®. 

Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg

“This partnership allows for a neighbourhood-level solution to waste management, and helps us fulfill our mutual deep commitment to sustainable practices,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “We know that our students take global and local environmental challenges more seriously than any other generation. In 2006, we introduced a set of environmental sustainability policies at UWinnipeg that are among the most progressive and comprehensive in Canada. Those policies are becoming actions.” 

UWinnipeg introduced composting in 2005 and is one of very few large institutions doing post-consumer composting – that is collecting food scraps in cafeterias and other public places , alongside pre-consumer compost collected in kitchens. UWinnipeg’s composting program avoided 51,000 kilograms of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions last year, the equivalent of taking 37 mid-sized cars driving 100 km per week off the road. 

“This is a great initiative and partnership for us. It allows us to expand our Target Zero initiatives beyond our own borders and offer this service to benefit the greater community,” says Paul Jordan, Chief Operating Officer, The Forks. “We consider this the pilot and we hope to serve as a model for others to view their waste in a different way.”

Organic waste from Uwinnipeg will join materials from The Forks Market in a HOBART/Somat eCorrect Waste Composter biocomposter. Once the contents have “cooked” for almost a day, they are placed in the site BIOvator® composter which is mixed with the grass clippings and leaves from the site. From this, The Forks will get clean, viable compost that is used in the site’s soils and gardens. Nutrient-rich water is also collected from the biocomposter; perfect for fertilizing grasses and trees.

“We’re very excited at the prospect of doubling the BIOvator® ‘s current load at The Forks site,” said Nioex President, and BIOvator® supplier, Shawn Compton, “This is the first and largest urban composting project in Western Canada, and we hope this partnership is just the beginning of large-scale composting in Winnipeg – we’re ready for the challenge.” 

In the past several years, UWinnipeg has become an award-winning eco-leader garnering national attention through the following sustainability initiatives: 

  • Creation of Diversity Foods serving nutritious, local and sustainable food on campus
  • First university in Canada to ban the sale of water, underlining its concerns with the commodification of a resource so essential to human life
  • Is in the process of installing a hybrid heating system that switches between natural gas and electricity. Once complete, the system could reduce GHG emissions from core buildings by as much as 25%
  • All campus bathrooms are being outfitted with low-flow toilets and sinks, saving more than one million gallons of water per year
  • Green cleaning practices and products built in to cleaning contract including phosphate-free detergents
  • All printers on campus default to double-sided printing, saving countless amounts of paper
  • New campus facilities constructed to minimum LEED Silver standard
  • A new UW Sustainability Strategic Plan will be released shortly that outlines the University’s energy, GHG, waste and water use reduction targets for the years ahead, along with other sustainability targets 

Find out more about UWinnipeg’s sustainability initiatives – Alana Lajoie-O’Malley, Manager, Campus Sustainability Office http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/sus-index 

Find out more about The Forks’ Target Zero initiative: www.theforks.com/targetzero  


Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E: [email protected]  

Clare MacKay, Vice President, Marketing and Communications

The Forks North Portage P: 204.987.4360 E: [email protected]

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