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Trent becomes first university in Ontario to install parking infrastructure made from recycled plastic

Addition of new permeable parking spots serve as innovative approach to balance environmental commitment and campus growth

"Our campus is growing and we need to balance that growth with our commitment to the environment," explains Kent Stringham, associate vice-president Finance and Administration at Trent University.
"Our campus is growing and we need to balance that growth with our commitment to the environment," explains Kent Stringham, associate vice-president Finance and Administration at Trent University.

In keeping with the University's long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability, Trent University is slated to become the first university in Ontario to install permeable grid paving - an environmental innovation made popular in Europe.

The environmentally-friendly parking solution, to be installed at Trent's Symons Campus this summer, is created using 100% recycled plastic, helping to curb plastic pollution as it does not require the use of asphalt - often a byproduct of the petroleum industry. Similar parking systems are being used across Europe, as well as countries around the world, in a variety of settings including agriculture, parks and industrial spaces.

"Our campus is growing and we need to balance that growth with our commitment to the environment," explains Kent Stringham, associate vice-president Finance and Administration at Trent University. "This innovative and environmental solution to meeting campus demands boasts a number of ecological benefits including the ability to plant grass within the grid, better drainage, and less required road salt in the winter. It's a win-win for Trent and for our environment."

Permeable grid paving systems are installed as a series of recycled plastic interlocking grid on top of land which can then be filled with grass or gravel. The system offers a host of environmental benefits including reduction of flood risk and increased capacity for storm-water management. The permeable parking grids are weather-resistant, can be plowed, and require far less salt in the winter, significantly lessening impact on nearby animal habitats.

The environmental impact of this specific project is significant and will utilize 35,640 pounds of recycled plastic, detain 64,627 gallons of stormwater, and save 162.9 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of planting 34,295 trees.

The project will add approximately 100 parking spaces to Trent's Symons Campus this summer, helping to address increased demand for parking as the campus grows.

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