April | Nathan McDonald

In honour of earth day, what better person to feature then Nathan McDonald. A 20 year old Dawson College theatre student who’s made quite an impact this past year with his mask recycling initiative. So far, over 75, 000 masks have been recycled at Dawson College alone since October.

Nathan grew up in Trois-Rivières and moved to Montreal 3 years ago to pursue his studies in Health Science with a rooted interest in Biology. He later fell in love with Professional Theatre and decided to make the leap and switch programs.  He says that the theatre program, its teachers and peers have made him more open to appreciating everyday life with its great social environment and inclusivity.

Since the pandemic begun, masks are omnipresent in our day to day. Many of us use an average of 2 to 3 masks each day. This got Nathan thinking of a way he could help by recycling them. 

JETELOVE asked: “How did you come across this idea?”

Nathan says that he had heard that Dawson College’s Sustainability Department initially wanted to start this recycling project. This idea seemed to have dwindled with some saying that the money can be better spent elsewhere. Not taking no for an answer, he started doing his own research and one month later, connected with Go Zero Recycle, a Quebec company located in Magog. He was now properly informed and more determined than ever to bring this project to fruition. He went knocking on doors in different departments throughout the college, pleading his case and exploring if this project was in fact feasible. 

In early October 2021, the mask recycling pilot project took off. It is financed by the Dawson College Student Union as well as by the Gestion Resource Management Dept. They are affiliated to Dawson’s Sustainability Dept. They were able to purchase enough boxes to recycle 10 000 masks. They quickly went from 2 to 8 large recycling boxes placed all around the college. At present, Dawson’s Green Earth club help with manual labor, box upkeep as well as the administration side of things. Nathan has laid the project into their hands.

“How often are the masks collected?” we asked.  “All depending on how quickly the boxes fill up, Dawson is responsible of shipping them to Magog. “ he said. 

JETELOVE asked: “Who is absorbing the cost?” 

Nathan replied : “Dawson Student Union initially invested  2500$  and  the rest came from the Dawson Sustainability Dept. ( 7500$) . It comes down to 0.10$ / mask.

 “ Describe the recycling process for us ”. He replied: “Once Go Zero receives the masks at their Magog facility, they disinfect them after 7 days in quarantine. Their team then separates the different parts of the masks: elastics, nose clips and filters. The masks are then shredded into convertible materials ad are used to create new recyclable and useful products.”

When asked if there was a timeline to this collaboration with the company? Nathan says:

 “No, this is ongoing collab for now.”

“Do you plan to incorporate your concerns for environment in the future?”

“Yes for sure” he says, “Protecting the environment is one of the things I hold dearest to my heart. Everyone needs to be mindful and ask ourselves how we are contributing to the planet’s well-being. We must all try to make self- sustaining choices to consume less in our everyday lives and to be mindful of our choices, deciding to live with more simplicity and to be more conscious.”

‘What is your message to Montrealer’s on this earth day?” we asked.

“To recognize that our living choices in the present moment really affect our future as well as that of future generations. Let’s try our best to live without actually causing too much stress to others and to the environment.”

Thank you Nathan for your perseverance, energy and vision.

#planetearth #onteove #DawsonCollege #saveourplanet #earthday

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published