Sustainability Resources

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This guide was created to support students and groups of the McGill Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) to achieve their sustainability goals, however the facts, resources, and suggestions here are applicable to most student groups. This guide was put together by the EUS committee for Sustainability in Engineering at McGill (SEAM)


Waste Sorting at McGill

At McGill, waste is sorted into four streams like this video: garbage, paper products, glass/plastic/metal, and organic waste. The latter three categories require minimal contamination from garbage, thus sorting and education is extremely important. It is best to throw any uncertain items into the garbage.
Paper products: only clean paper products are accepted

  • Empty juice boxes, cartons, oil-free cardboard, paper cups
  • NO Pizza boxes, soiled napkins, glossy photo paper

Glass/Plastic/Metal: empty containers(uncleaned) except #6 plastic

  • Cans, aluminum food trays, grocery bags
  • NO #6 plastic, hot beverage lids, chip bags/cans, plastic food wrap

Organic Waste: food, soiled paper, compostable plastic

  • Food, soiled napkins, pizza boxes, PLA plastic, chopsticks, paper plates
  • NO other plastics, fabric, cork

Waste sorting is one of the easiest initiatives to implement. Pollution is a serious problem throughout the world. Diverting material from the landfill decreases soil, air, and water pollution, and the production of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.


McConnell Engineering Building
  • Rico(porter) is very helpful, ask if there are problems or for large bins
Contact: desk by Dispatch in main entrance or call 514-398-4455
  • Frostbite lends empty tubs for recycling and organic waste
Contact: 12:00 -17:00, Monday - Friday or

McConnell has organic waste, recycling, and garbage on the main floor, with garbage and recycling intermittently in the rest of the building. Large paper recycling bins are across from CopiEUS. The EUS common room has several garbage bins, one plastic/metal/glass bin, and one paper recycling box.

SSMU Building
  • Garbage and recycling are available throughout the SSMU building.
Carrefour Sherbrooke Building
  • Cafeteria will usually allow the use of their recycling and compost
Contact: Carrefour Sherbrooke Cafeteria during opening hours

The ballroom has garbage and plastic bins, and the cafeteria has all types.

Other McGill Locations

McGill Special Events office can help anywhere, but takes time and will refer you

Compost Montreal
  • A paid organic waste collection useful for large quantities, $40/hour
Contact: or call 514-690-5773
External Locations
Check what is available at external locations; if you request bins they are usually able to accommodate although you may need to bring bags.


  • SEAM has a few letter-size laminated sorting signs available to borrow. Laminated signs and don’t need them anymore? We’ll repurpose them!
Contact: or the SEAM Facebook page
  • CopiEUS prints and laminates various sizes of signs. SEAM (above) can help design them if you don’t know what to put.
Contact: 9:00-17:00, Monday-Friday
Waste Suggestions
  • Place bins beside each other to make the choice obvious
  • Put lids on bins to prevent mindless disposal and therefore contamination
  • Signage showing items similar to those being used are the easiest to follow
  • Inform participants of the available sorting options at the beginning of events



There are free wash-your-own-dish tableware providers, and tableware rentals. Dishwashers are available in the McConnell Engineering Building(contact the EUS Office) and the SSMU Building(contact the building manager).

EUS Plumber's Plates
  • Reusable tableware provider for under 200 people
  • Items: drinkware, dishes, utensils, and more! All on website.
  • Availability: 48 hours for <30 items of a type, 96 hours otherwise
  • Location: EUS Common Room, McConnell Engineering Basement
  • Cost: $20 refundable deposit per bin, by cash/internal transfer
  1. Fill out request form with items from our website
  2. We will reply within 36 hours with availability and time
  3. Meet in common room to exchange the supplies for deposit
  4. use, wash, and dry items and pack into bins in common room
  5. return supplies clean and undamaged by appointed time to get deposit back
SSMU Plate club
  • Reusable tableware provider for under 200 people
  • Items: drinkware, dishes, utensils, and more! All on website.
  • Availability: 72 hours for up to 200 participants
  • Location: SSMU Building, 16:00-17:00(M-F)
  • Cost: $20 refundable cash deposit per bin
  1. Send email requesting items from the website
  2. We will reply within 48 hours with availability and time
  3. Pick up supplies during office hours
  4. use, wash, and dry items and pack into bins
  5. return supplies within one week to get deposit back
  • Plastic cup (Blues Pub-style) rental that washes for $0.20/cup
Celebrations Group
  • tableware rental company for over 200 people
  • Contact: order information on website


Minimize the amount of disposable supplies used, and educate the users on proper waste sorting. Use post-consumer compostable/recyclable material where possible.

EUS General Store
  • Items: cold cups, coffee cups, utensils, plates, bowls, napkins
  • Availability: 1 week for <100 items of a type, 24 hours otherwise
  • Location: EUS Mall, McConnell Engineering Building
  • How: Contact for pricing(at-cost), availability, and orders
  • Contact: or in-store 8:00-17:00
McGill Student Housing and Hospitality
  • Items: large quantity compostable cups, plates, utensils
  • Availability: 1 month notice
  • Location: EUS Mall, McConnell Engineering Building
  • How: Contact for pricing, availability, and orders
  • Contact: Chef Oliver de Volpi
Tableware Suggestions
  • Hand out supplies instead of having them free to take
  • Encourage people to bring their own containers and mugs
  • Reuse supplies - even disposable products are often sturdy enough to reuse
  • Have clearly labelled bins to collect dirty dishes
  • Charge a small fee for disposable materials, making them opt-in

Food & Drink

Food Industry Impacts

The food and dining industry has immense environmental impacts. Agriculture is one of the most energy and water intensive industries, in addition to pollution and land degradation. An omnivore diet accounts for more than 4 times the greenhouse gas emissions of a vegetarian diet. Food waste is another large issue, as excess food is simply thrown away while others go hungry. Lastly, over-packaging is characteristic of most consumer products - while sometimes it is essential to extend the lifetime of a product, most of the time it is excessive.


The caterers below, and many others, will use less/recycled containers if asked.

Lola Rosa
Vegetarian/vegan food available for groups in aluminum group pans. Email for more info.
Sandwiches, ask for them in aluminum trays instead of individually wrapped in plastic

… still adding to this list

Food Supplies

Buy in bulk if getting packaged food for lots of people to reduce waste. Bring reusable containers to loose food stores. Try to purchase goods in recyclable packaging where possible, and bring reusable shopping bags.

  • distribution store with bulk food at 3975 rue Saint-Ambroise
Contact: 514-933-0939
  • distribution store with bulk food at 300 Bridge Montreal
Contact: 514-938-5170
Pousse l’ananas
  • cheap large fruit boxes (apples, bananas, oranges, prunes, and more)
Bulk Barn
  • loose bin food store with 10% student discount on Wednesdays
Contact: 1616 Saint-Catherine St W, 8:00 –22:00


Try one of these alternatives prevent leftovers from ending up in the landfill.

  • if expecting leftovers, encourage others to bring tupperware
Free Food on Campus & in Montreal
  • Post in the Facebook group and make hungry students happy
  • there are bins on the main floor of McConnell if all else fails


Avoid individual bottled drinks, especially water.

Water fountains
  • know the locations and provide reusable cups
Water coolers
  • can be rented from Labrador Springs or other companies
Water buggy
  • Can be rented through McGill for larger events
Drinks through the EUS
  • For beverages through the EUS, the bottles/cans are returned to the supplier so make sure to save them!
Food & Drink Suggestions
  • Explain your sustainability goals to venues/suppliers for their help
  • Plan to minimize driving for supplies, by you and whomever you order from
  • Choose vegetarian/vegan food to decrease environmental impact
  • Cater to other dietary restrictions for accessibility


Materials Suggestions Make swag opt-in so people don’t end up with things they don’t want Make materials available online and only print backups for those who ask Print on recycled paper Make name tags out of old newspapers, a sharpie, and a safety pin