Sustainability Initiatives

Solar panels at the Mir Centre for Peace, Castlegar Campus

Join us in working hard to reduce our impact on the natural world by adopting more sustainable practices, reducing our carbon footprint, using resources responsibly and doing our part to mitigate climate change. 

Our Commitment in Action

TEDx Countdown

Countdown is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. The goal is to build a better future by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 in the race to a zero-carbon world—a world that is safer, cleaner and fairer for everyone.

TEDx Countdown 2022

This event was hosted in partnership between Selkirk College and the West Kootenay Climate Hub. 

Check out some videos!

TEDx Countdown 2021

Selkirk College collaborated with Countdown to take action on climate change. Hosted in partnership with the Citizens' Climate Lobby Nelson-West Kootenay Chapter and the West Kootenay Climate Hub.

Check out some videos from TEDx Countdown 2021!

TEDx Countdown 2020

Sustainable Selkirk and the Mir Centre for Peace partnered with the Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL) Nelson/West Kootenay Chapter to host the local series that tied into the international TEDx Countdown virtual presentations. Events took place around the world featuring innovative solutions to the climate challenge through turning ideas into action.

Events took place around the world. Watch those videos here. Check out videos of our local speakers.

Reusable To-Go Containers

We’re ditching disposable and committing to reusables! Enjoy your to-go meals at Selkirk College sustainably. Taking part is easy.

  1. Order to go. Your meal will be served in a reusable container.
  2. Pay. Have a participant token? Give it to our cashier staff. If you don’t have one yet, pay the $5 investment.
  3. Swap it. Done your to-go meal? Swap the reusable container for a participant token with cashier staff at any time. Hold on to your token until your next to-go meal to waive the $5!

These containers are recyclable!

The reusable to-go containers are a highly durable polypropylene that is 100% BPA free. They are dishwasher and microwave safe. If a reusable to-go container breaks and is no longer usable, please return it to cafeteria staff. It can be recycled in our blue recycling bins. 

Kootenay Tap Water

Fill up your reusable water bottle with fresh, clean and free water! Check out the refill stations around Castlegar Campus.

Tap Map


Find recycling units across all Selkirk College campuses. They have three streams: recycling, refundables and garbage.

All recycling must be clean and dry. Remember, one wrong item can contaminate the entire bin and prevent recyclable materials from ever seeing a second life. Let’s recycle right.

Organic waste diversion (composting)

Divert organic waste from landfills to help lower methane emissions (a GHG with 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide). Look for the green compost bins for your lunch food scraps. You can compost things like banana peels, apple cores, vegetable scraps and tea bags.

Unlike standard composting systems, our new FoodCyclers (organic waste dehydrating and grinding technology) accept meat and dairy products as well. Our on-site compost system cannot accept everything. Do not add hard bones, fat or oil, stone fruit pits, cardboard, to-go containers, coffee cups or bags of any kind (including compostable or biodegradable).

Battery Recycling

Recycle your batteries and cellphones on campus!

The best way to ensure that batteries aren’t filling our landfills is to make sure they never get there. We are a Call2Recycle collection partner.

Look for the collection boxes: 

  • Castlegar Campus: The Pit
  • Castlegar Student Housing
  • Applied Research & Innovation Centre: student lunch room
  • Tenth Street Campus: Student Lounge
  • Tenth Street Student Housing
  • Silver King Campus: Student Commons Building

Follow the simple instructions on the box: bag it, seal it, drop it. It's that easy. 

Renewable Energy
Solar panels on the roof of the Castlegar Campus

There are 275 solar panels on the roof of the Castlegar Campus Library that have the capacity to produce an estimated 112,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. They help power lights, computers and equipment.

A ground mount solar installation at the Mir Centre for Peace in Castlegar has bifacial panels and the angle is adjusted throughout the year. They produce approximately 21,000 to 26,000 kWh of electricity annually and are tied to the FortisBC grid, which means that any excess power can be exported. The Mir Centre for Peace also uses geothermal heating. 

Castlegar Student Housing heats hot water using solar power. 

The Silver King Campus biomass boiler project is expected to replace nearly all previous demand for natural gas at this campus, resulting in reduced emissions and lower heating costs. It uses wood waste from the Carpentry and Fine Woodworking programs as fuel, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Energy Conservation

Addressing energy consumption is key to a sustainable future. We are working to reduce our energy consumption and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Browse our reporting to see how we track our progress.

Check out our energy conservation procedures within our Environmental Policy.


Register for our carpool program! Once you get your permit, drive to campus with two or more people and get prime parking in designated carpool parking spots!

Please respect this sustainability initiative and leave these spaces for those who have chosen to green their commute.

Electric Vehicles

Charge your electric vehicle at the Castlegar, Tenth Street and Silver King campuses. Find them and the full network for EV charging stations on the Plug Share map.

Electric Vehicles

Our Facilities Department has a Chevy Bolt, a fully electric, emissions-free vehicle! We look forward to adding more electric vehicles to our fleet.

Bike to Selkirk College

Find the best cycling route for you! Check out this web map, created by an Integrated Environmental Planning student, and find various cycling routes to the Castlegar Campus. 

Click on a route to see the distance, elevation profile and approximate travel time.

Sustainable Paper Purchasing

We use Sugar Sheet paper made from the waste fibre from sugar cane processing.

  • Two boxes of Sugar Sheet copy paper save one tree.
  • Two boxes of Sugar Sheet copy paper save 29.2 kg of greenhouse gas emissions.

Read our policy procedure on paper usage on campus.

Fair Trade Campus

Selkirk College was Canada’s first community college to achieve a Fair Trade Campus Designation. Fair Trade programs work with disadvantaged farmers in the developing world to provide opportunities to help improve their lives through empowerment, fair wages, and safe working conditions.

Fair Trade is an alternative approach to conventional trading methods, based on a partnership between producers and consumers. By choosing to purchase Fair Trade products, you are choosing a powerful way to help reduce poverty. Look for products on campus with the Fair Trade logo.

Read our policy procedure on Fair Trade.

Sustainable Choices

These choices have been identified with a Sustainable Choice stamp of recognition. Look for this stamp on items and know that you purchase is supporting a more sustainable future. What do we look for when determining a Sustainable Choice? Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Certified B Corp, 1% for the Planet member, 100% recycled content, and 100% recyclable.

Sustainable Choices consider people, plant and profit.