Sustainability FAQs

Why do coffee cups go in the garbage at OCAD U?
Most coffee cups are paper lined with a coating. The coating might be wax or plastic (polyethylene) or biodegradable plastic. Any coating + paper = mixed materials. So throwing your coffee cup anywhere other than the landfill bin means contaminating your paper pulp or compost with plastics. What can you do? Use a mug or thermos.

What is lifecycle design?
An approach to decision-making and design that considers all costs of a product or system throughout its service life (from design, manufacturing, service life, to reuse/disposal). Ask yourself: What's this made out of? Is it durable or will it break? Can I repair it? Can I repurpose it later?

Think of buying a bike lock. A thin cable lock may cost $15 upfront. But what's the whole story when you use that cable lock? It might rust quickly and stop functioning, requiring yet another bike lock. Or it might be so poor quality that someone cuts the cable lock and steals your bike! So now, how much have you spent over the life of that lock with the low upfront cost? Plus you have the sad discards of your cable lock and the wasted resources that were extracted to make that lock and it will have to go to a specialty recycler.
Lifecycle design would consider the durability of the product and the costs of maintenance, operation, and disposal.

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing (noun) is a marketing tactic to deceptively portray an organization's activities or products as environmentally responsible when this is untrue.