Environmental management programs

Managing resources and waste disposal is important to Durham College (DC) and we have created several programs to address this issue. From our co-mingle program to single stream recycling opportunities on campus, we encourage the development of a culture that is dedicated to waste diversion and resourcefulness when it comes to waste disposal.  Learn more about our programs.


  • E-waste recycling program – DC has formed various partnerships with local processors and asset recovery companies to ensure all electronic waste and surplus asset items are recycled locally, and in a sustainable way. The Sustainability office, in partnership with the Information Technology Services and Finance departments, has created a program that ensures a small revenue stream is generated back into a sustainability fund for student projects and sustainability initiatives.
  • Battery recycling – Used batteries make up less than one per cent of all waste found in municipal landfills. That one per cent of batteries is responsible for 88 per cent of all the toxic heavy metals found in landfills. 
  • Co-mingle program – Our co-mingle bins accept both trash and recyclables, but our goal is to divert as much garbage as possible from the landfill. Bags from the co-mingle bins are collected; placed into a 32-foot compactor and taken to a recycling plant in Pickering, Ont., where the materials are sorted, compacted into cubes and then sold to companies for reuse. All cardboard on campus is collected, compacted and recycled. Our 2014 waste diversion rate was 64.99 per cent, which shows more than half of our campus waste is being diverted from the landfill thanks to our co-mingle program. 
  • Hazardous wastes –  Hazardous wastes are generated at DC primarily through the auto shop and housekeeping services. The auto-shop recycles all waste fluids to ensure that oils, coolants, fuels, etc.  are not put into the waste stream. Housekeeping services uses automated chemical dispensing units to reduce chemical usage and uses green chemicals where possible.
  • Paperless transition: To reduce the amount of paper waste generated by students, the college sets a limit for free printing at the start of each academic year. Our default printing is also set to double-sided. Our most recent administrative transition to digital processes is through our new banner paper-less system.
  • Furniture recycling – We are committed to repurposing furniture where possible.  Where this is not possible, the college has a donation agreement with Habitat for Humanity, Durham.
  • Spent lamps – DC is a participant of the Ontario Lamp Recyclers Inc. program, in accordance with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.  We are currently investigating membership with the Take Back the Lights program.
  • Toner recycling– Toner cartridges are collected and recycled through the Lexmark Return Program, where cartridges are sold at discounted rates versus the price of regular cartridges in exchange for the customer’s agreement to use the cartridge only once and return it only to Lexmark for remanufacturing or recycling.
  • Whitby shop recycling program Through a partnership with Combined Metal Industries (CMI) and Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation, students and staff in the machining, industrial maintenance mechanic, welding and automotive shops collect metal cuttings and pipes and separate them into metal tipping bins. In the electrical shop area, students separate aluminum and copper wire and sort them into labelled metal bins. When full, these are picked up and replaced with empty bins. CMI and Gerdau Ameristeel dispose of our scrap metals along with their scrap metals. This is a win-win situation as we are not charged for the use of the collection bins and these companies send us a cheque for a percentage of the weight of the scrap metal at market value. Since we have started this program, we have generated revenue for the purchase of tools for the shop areas and drastically reduced the amount of technologist labour spent collecting and discarding of scrap metals.
  • Scrap wood from the Building Construction program – Sustainable program and wooden packing skids from Oshawa campus are reused internally where possible and/or transported to a wood recovery facility and turned into mulch and fuel. The Automotive Shop users recycle fluid jugs, spent fuel, waste oil, oily rags/absorbent, rubber tires and lead acid batteries, all recycled by an authorized hazardous waste recovery facility.These recycling practices initiated by Whitby campus employees support sustainable behaviours in sharing responsibility for the continued well-being of students, staff, the community and planet.
  • Low flow toilets, waterless urinals and sensor taps: Facilities and Ancillary Services is in the process of replacing all old toilets with new water-efficient toilets and sensor flush valves and sinks. It has also replaced key urinals with a new enzyme based waterless urinal.  This new technology is being piloted by the college.