SPPH Sustainability

SPPH Zero Heros: (l to r): Jackie Carpio, Avital Jarus-Hakak, Karen Bartlett, Linda Bonamis, Erin Smith

SPPH Zero Heros: (l to r): Jackie Carpio, Avital Jarus-Hakak, Karen Bartlett, Linda Bonamis, Erin Smith


The School of Population and Public Health is one of the leading departments, and buildings, known on UBC campus for their sustainability and zero waste efforts.

What we do:

At SPPH we strive to accomplish the most that we can to be sustainable, and we continually create new initiatives to climb towards our goal of becoming a zero waste building. In the past three years we have:

  • Created many new recycling initiatives; we now have 8 different materials that can be recycled!
  • Participated in, and won, the 2014 “Sort it Out” UBC competition for the most sustainable department at UBC
  • Purchased and created an entire suite of sustainable and reusable homewares for specific use at SPPH events; we have a collection of plates, glasses, mugs, cutlery, etc., that are used in place of plastic and styrofoam utensils
  • We collect refundable items (cans, bottles, etc.), and use the funds raised to purchase items for sustainability initiatives. We originally purchased our own compostable bins with these funds, prior to UBC issuing compost bins in November 2014

What you can do:

All staff, faculty and students are each responsible for how green we can be. Everything from turning a light switch off when a room is not in use, to turning off a leaking tap – you are helping to reduce our carbon footprint on earth.

  • Recycling: Our most important work is done through our many recycling options here at SPPH. We have created a Recycling @ SPPH Guide to help all new people to the building to see and learn what and where to recycle all sorts of different materials. Recently added are recycling for cereal bags and Styrofoam! If you are ever unsure about which receptacle to place an item in, ask around, or track down on of our sustainability committee members.
  • Eliminate Disposable Material: Any events held at SPPH are able to utilize our events dinnerware collection to avoid purchasing and using disposable plastic products such as plates and cutlery. See below “Sustainable Events” section for details of what you can borrow for your next event!
  • Computers: Getting a new work computer? Ensure that you notify the IT Manager to properly dispose of your old computer. Computers have their memory wiped and are then collected by an electronics recycling company

Sustainable Events at SPPH

Over the past few years we have been steadily collecting a variety of items to store as our “events-ware”. These are stored on the 3rd floor, and bookings of these items can be made by contacting Karen Bartlett or Linda Bonamis. Currently we have enough items to cater to approx 100 people at an event. On occasion we have two SPPH events running at the same time, so please ensure to reserve the items you need in advance!

We have:

  • bamboo plates
  • ceramic plates
  • glasses
  • mugs
  • forks
  • spoons
  • knives

When borrowing these items, we ask that you return the same amount of items borrowed (and cleaned).

Note: when ordering catering advise them not to provide plates/cutlery. If there are circumstances in which you are needing to purchase cutlery or plates, please only purchase COMPOSTABLE items. Wescadia has a majority of their items, including cutlery, plates, and napkins that are compostable.