Single Use Plastics (Bottled Water and Plastic Bags) Policy

Policy number: AS-2200-2013
Policy title: Single Use Plastics (Bottled Water and Plastic Bags)
Policy owner: Manager, Sustainability Office
Effective date: January 1, 2013
Last revised: September 18, 2017

On this page:

  1. Purpose
  2. Application and Scope
  3. Definitions
  4. Principles
  5. Accountability and Compliance
  6. Rules
  7. Policy Revision Date
  8. Specific Links

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to help reduce Mohawk’s carbon footprint particularly among its students, staff and faculty, and to lower waste management costs associated with the disposal of single use plastics.


2. Application and Scope

The distribution and sale of plastic bags and water bottles intended for single use is banned at Mohawk College, effective January 1, 2013.

This includes, all single use plastic bottled water 1L and under, intended for single use personal consumption before disposal at all Mohawk College campuses and, all single use plastic bags intended for a single use and designed to carry goods distributed at all Mohawk College campuses.

Student, staff and faculty will still be permitted to bring their own single use plastic water bottles and bags from home to Mohawk. They however, will no longer be able to purchase from college controlled retail and food service outlets.


3. Definitions

‘Bottled Water‘ refers to a water bottle made from plastic, which is intended for single-use personal consumption.

‘Single Use Plastics’ are plastic products distributed on campus, which is intended for a single use before disposal (recycling or waste).

‘Plastic Bag’ is bag made from plastic film, which is intended for single use and designed to carry goods.


4. Principles

This policy supports two key objectives of Mohawk College:

  • a. Sustainability as a strategic priority at Mohawk College,
  • b. Mohawk College Environmental Management Plan 2.0, which calls for a 30% reduction of 2007 baseline carbon emissions by 2020.


5. Accountability and Compliance

5.1 Accountability Framework

Approved by the Senior Leadership Team.

5.2 Compliance

The Manager, Sustainability Office is responsible for monitoring this policy according to an established schedule or more frequently in response to feedback from the College community.


6. Rules

6.1 Water Bottle Policy Permissions

  • Single use plastic bottles are permitted under the following circumstances:
  • If Mohawk College is notified of a water quality issue which effects an entire campus location and the safety of students, staff and faculty.
  • Security emergencies where water is required to ensure health and safety.
  • Mohawk Students’ Association events where alcohol is being served and safe serving practices are in effect.
  • Off-campus varsity games, where safe drinking water is not accessible to athletes, spectators and coaches.
  • Large campus events, where appropriate.
  • where safe drinking water in not accessible.
  • Where commercial agreements limit the College’s ability to control product line-up.

6.2 Plastic Bag Policy Permissions

  • The following alternative bagging solutions are permitted, ranked in terms of preference:
  • Reusable bags made from biodegradable or cloth material.
  • Reusable bags made from non-biodegradable material.
  • Paper bags.
  • Biodegradable plastic bags intended for single use.

6.3 Other Permission

All unforeseen circumstances and exceptions to this policy are to be reviewed by the Environmental Management Plan Steering Committee


7. Policy Revision Date

7.1 Revision Date

September 2020

7.2 Responsibility

The Manager, Sustainability Office, in cooperation with the Mohawk College Environmental Plan Steering Committee, is responsible for reviewing this policy every three years or earlier when required.


8. Specific Links