From trash to cash: Students clean up with recycling bursaries

Updated: November 10, 2023

When NBCC launched a new recycling project at its facilities last fall, the primary goal was to lessen the College’s environmental footprint and find efficiencies in waste collection. But the project ended up having a much larger impact for six students.

Funds raised through the return of recyclable cans, bottles, and metals have funded six new bursaries for NBCC students this academic year, providing financial assistance of $500 each.

“NBCC is committed to becoming more environmentally sustainable, so the idea of diverting more waste from landfills was an attractive one,” said Facilities and Ancillary Services Director Kris Kierstead. “This whole initiative stemmed from an idea that our custodial and maintenance team had. We thought we might collect enough on returnables to fund a bursary, but the project really exceeded our expectations to the point that we were able to invest that money into multiple bursaries, helping even more students.

“The early success of this is really motivating for our team; our workers are always eager to help students, however they can.”

Beginning in September 2021, central recycling bins were placed in all NBCC facilities and the wastepaper baskets in classrooms and offices were eliminated. This not only made it easier for employees to sort their waste into recyclables, it also made it easier for facilities staff to complete waste disposal as it required fewer collections and cut down on the number of garbage bags being used.

“Our objective in this initiative was to encourage more recycling and find efficiencies in our process; funding a bursary was really a secondary goal,” said Kierstead. “But because NBCC staff and students embraced the initiative so wholeheartedly, the bursaries have really become the hallmark of the project’s success.”

Update – November 2023: Since introducing the new recycling program in Fall 2021, NBCC’s Facilities and Ancillary Services Team have awarded 12 $500 bursaries.

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