plastic pellets

EREF Awards First Ice River Springs Master’s Scholarship for Sustainability

The scholarship went to Jillian Treadwell, who is currently a student at McGill University in the department of Bioresource Engineering.

The Board of Directors of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) has announced the award of the first Ice River Springs Master’s Scholarship for Sustainability to Jillian Treadwell, who is currently a student at McGill University in the department of Bioresource Engineering.

Ice River Springs is an Ontario-based company that takes in large bales of used PET bottles from municipalities, sorts them, cleans them, makes them into food grade plastic pellets, then into preforms and finally into new bottles. The company then fills the bottles with fresh spring, purified, distilled and sparkling water. Ice River Springs is a plastics recycling facility and closed-loop production.

The eligibility requirements for the Ice River Springs Master’s Scholarship for Sustainability are as follows:

  • Master’s students enrolled full-time
  • Must be enrolled at a Canadian academic institution
  • Area of research that relates to recycling, with preference given to applicants exploring the recyclability of plastics, plastic bottles and/or PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic

Jillian’s research project “Driving factors for organic waste and phosphorus recycling: a quantitative analysis and scenario based model” aims to explore how socio-economic factors and management strategies have impacted organic waste diversion rates across Europe and Canada, as well as the impact this diversion has had on phosphorus recycling. Subsequently, using Montreal as a case study, the research assesses how current organic waste and phosphorus flows may change as a result of impending adjustments to policy and legislation in the area. Understanding how organic waste management strategies have unfolded in the past, and the impact of such strategies on organic waste diversion and recycling, can provide direction at a time when similar policies are gaining prevalence and momentum across North America. Furthermore, a clearer understanding of how phosphorus and other nutrients move in and through urban areas would help to evaluate the role of organic waste management in more sustainable nutrient management.

In 2013, Jillian completed her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia with a B.Sc. in Global Resource Systems where her studies were predominantly focused on environmental and climate sciences, sustainable development, and physical geography. During her undergraduate degree, Jillian completed a semester abroad at the CEMUS Centre for Sustainable Development at Uppsala University in Sweden. While at the University of British Columbia, she also completed an internship with Environmental Youth Alliance where she volunteered with students and teachers to facilitate environmental education in elementary schools through the use of school gardens. Following her undergraduate degree, Jillian went on to work for an environmental engineering consulting firm where she focused on alternative solid waste management.

In addition to the project described above, Jillian is also working on a massive open online course (MOOC) regarding integrated cycles in wastewater and nutrient management in collaboration with Concordia University and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). More broadly, she is interested in how we can make human systems more circular, resilient, and sustainable, and beyond that, how to make this science accessible so that these types of systems become more attainable.

“Jillian’s research is exciting to us because it relates to our commitment as a corporation to achieving zero-waste-to-landfill and also our passion for sustainability and environment,” said Sandy Gott, Executive Vice President and Co-Owner at Ice River Springs. “We need to keep the earth healthy. As recyclers ourselves we practice this. We are pleased to support Jillian’s valuable research.”

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