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R4: Getting innovative with used paper

by Archives September 5, 2006

With the beginning of school comes the purchase of new books and supplies. It goes without saying that most students will appreciate some relief when it comes to spending money for such things. This is where R4 comes in with a little help.

For those who don’t know R4, it stands for the four “R”s that we were supposed to have learned in grade school: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It also stands for a Concordia group of the SCP (Sustainable Concordia Project), whose mission is to “re-think” our daily waste usage at Concordia, as well as figuring out ways to recycle waste and reuse it as much as possible.

Since last year, more recycling containers have been added in the Concordia hallways. That was one achievement brought about by R4.

Also popular, the “Lug-a-mug” campaign reuses locally made mugs in order to reduce the ridiculous amount of over 250,000 styrofoam coffee cups that are used per year on campus.

The new R4 bookstore collection

This semester, R4 has come through with a new innovation. A new collection in campus bookstores debuts September 11 with items for the school year.

The R4 collection will carry:

o reused binders ($0.99)

o one-sided paper notebooks ($2.50)

o lab coats ($14.99)

o lab glasses ($2.99)

o 100% organic cotton American Apparel t-shirts ($18.99)

o reusable bags ($9.99)

o reusable R4 mugs (only $5.00 for a limited edition)

The proceeds will go towards promoting environments stewardship on campus and contribute to the different R4 Concordia programs.

This new project came about because of a few simple phone calls.

“It started off with Concordia departments calling me up and asking me if there was any place they could send old binders they did not need anymore and lab coats that were found and never claimed.” said Chantal Beaudoin, Environmental and R4 coordinator.

“With the help of Eric Armoise from Environmental Health and Safety, and Dany Kane, the Concordia Bookstore manager, in under six months we managed to collect 30 lab coats, some t-shirts and reusable bags from various company donations and made over 400 notebooks with collected sheets from previous one-sided paper projects.”

This project has many advantages, according to Beaudoin. She pointed to four immediate benefits: waste sent to landfills will be reduced, it will provide affordable school supplies and environmentally friendly products for students, it will fund initiatives on campus and lastly, that it promotes a practice of reusing material.

R4 will also offer free recycling to the Montreal community and collects used batteries, cellphones, ink cartridges, CD-ROM’s and DVDs.

Look for the “Worms of the City” event this October. It will showcase the R4 vermi-composting facility located on the 13th floor of the Hall Building.

Sustainable Concordia and R4 are having a “Get to Know You” potluck, to be held on Sept. 19 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Greenhouse.

Get Involved

Both R4 recycle and R4 compost projects still need volunteers. By donating a couple of hours per semester, anyone can become an R4 ambassador and/or take part in the student groups.

Get all your details at r4.concordia.ca/main/involved.php. The new R4 collection is coming to Concordia Bookstores Sept. 11. Check it out – you never know when one person’s trash can become another person’s treasure.

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