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Branded Materials Transition Project

As the university begins its next chapter in its institutional identity, each department is taking stock of the Ryerson-branded items used and distributed in our work and developing plans for how best to re-purpose these materials. 

Our institution strives to uphold its commitment to sustainability and good environmental stewardship. Together we have a responsibility to ensure that the transition is not wasteful, recognizing the costs of replacement and the environmental impacts of disposal.

Thoughtfully supporting a sustainable renaming

The Branded Materials Transition Project provides an opportunity to reuse, upcycle or recycle a wide range of Ryerson-branded materials, including merchandise, apparel, stationery, and keepsakes.

When taking stock, it’s important to think about items such as mugs, mouse pads and USB sticks that are currently in use and still within their useful lifespan - these continue to have value and don’t necessarily need to be disposed of. Letterhead and envelopes can continue to be used internally by printing on the reverse side and using address labels, for example. 

There are also many items that people may have in their offices, kitchenettes, administrative spaces and personal wardrobes that serve as personal reminders of positive experiences and accomplishments at the university as a student, faculty or staff. There is no need to get rid of these items if they still have value or use to you.

Drop off your Ryerson-branded materials

Phase one of the project is underway with the ongoing collection of professional and office items that carry our former name. 

In tandem with these efforts, we are now launching phase two of the project, where students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members are invited to bring in all Ryerson-branded materials they would like to see transitioned in a responsible manner. 

Throughout September and October, drop off branded gear at the following location to have it recycled, upcycled or reused:

  • Wednesdays 3 p.m. - 6 p.m in POD 165 (Please knock loudly)

How to manage your Ryerson-branded materials: We’re here to help!

To support TMU departments and community groups with materials that can no longer be appropriately used or distributed, the Branded Materials Transition Project team can provide guidance and assistance to help collect these assets and direct them toward new, useful purposes. 

If you, your team or your department have Ryerson-branded materials targeted for disposal, contact the Branded Materials Transition Project to help identify alternate solutions to landfill. Fill out the google formBranded Materials Transition Project form, external link as a starting point to help us get a sense of the scope of the materials that you have. We have and continue to develop local partnerships with organizations that can accommodate a variety of materials from textiles to electronics. 

We’ll work with you to figure it out!

The team has researched and identified avenues to upcycle, reuse and recycle various streams of materials, including institutional and personal goods such as:

  • Ryerson, RU, RAMS merchandise, apparel and swag (e.g. t-shirts, hoodies, lanyards)
  • Stationery that is not suitable for continued use until depletion (e.g. business cards, postcards and calendars)
  • Signage, banners, frames and binders

As well, the Branded Materials Transition Project team is working with TMU Archives & Special Collections to ensure that appropriate materials are retained for historical purposes.

Collection Update

  • 140 units or departments have been contacted to donate 
  • 88 units or departments have been collected from
  • More than 5000kg of materials have been collected so far

Transition streams and partners

Materials will be sorted and assessed first for reusability, then upcycling through partnerships with community groups and collaboration with sustainability programs.

The Scadding Court Sewing Hub, external link accepts donated clothing and other repurposed textiles to support their skills-training sewing program where residents can learn how to perform repairs and alterations as well as design and make clothing.

The Material Exchange (MEX); a program between Partners in Project Green (PPG) with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Participants can exchange a variety of materials ranging from textiles and electronics to medical equipment and items to support education.

As part of Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) 10 year anniversary celebrations, the TMU Department of Athletics & Recreation, in collaboration with The Creative School and the Office of Sustainability, will honour the legacy of the Rams and the future success of the TMU Bold, external link, while shining a light on environmental sustainability. The TMU Upcycled Gear Collection will include 26 one-of-a-kind fashion pieces made from upcycled Ryerson Rams-branded materials.

Find out more and join us at the TMU Upcycled Gear Fashion Show, external link.

TMU’s Facilities Services’ waste management program also ensures that pre-sorted materials are picked up separately and go directly to recycling centres. The university participates in a number of specialized recycling programs to help reduce unnecessary landfill waste, including:

  • Electronic devices
  • Pens, markers and other writing utensils
  • Binders
  • Scrap metal, acrylic, styrene and ABS that are commonly used in signage and display materials

You can find out more about TMU’s waste management program at the Waste page of the Sustainability Office’s website.

Debranding and Reuse

Ensuring the reuse of items is the highest priority of the Branded Materials Transition Project. With this goal in mind, we are working to debrand as many items as possible. After debranding, items are returned to the department they came from, distributed internally where they will be used, or donated to community groups where appropriate.

This is an evolving effort that must consider novel and creative ways to transition the varied and unique types of items gathered throughout the collection process.

To help, we have been working under the guidance of Christopher Bentley, a laboratory technician with the School of Occupational and Public Health. Christopher and the project team have experimented with several solvents to remove branding from plastic, nylon, and metal items.

To date, we have debranded and returned 140kg of items back to the departments they originated from.

Using an acetone-based nail-polish remover, the following items have been successfully debranded and returned:

  • Water bottles from the dean’s office, Faculty of Arts
  • Purple backpack from the Faculty of Arts
  • Water bottles from the sociology department
  • Mugs from the geography department
  • English studies notebook
  • “Ryerson International” branded umbrella
  • “Ryerson International” branded locks
  • “SciXchange” branded notebooks

In addition, the following items were debranded and donated to community partners:

  • Strategic Outreach and Response Team (SORT), a Program led by Community Safety and Security at TMU
    • Hand sanitizer packets
    • Tissues packs
    • Other hygiene products 
  • Executive leather binders

Future Debranding Efforts


  • Many items being collected - especially apparel - are good candidates for debranding with paint. Often, the branding is a small patch on an otherwise perfectly usable item.
  • The project team has experimented with acrylic-based and fabric paints and will be debranding the following items with the help of part-time student staff:
    • T-shirts
    • Totes
    • Notebook covers
    • Pencils
    • Foam stress balls

Alumni Student Athlete Jersey Sale

As the university and its student-athletes begin a new chapter in their identity and we transition to the TMU Bold, the university also honours the legacy of the Rams.

The university acknowledges that there is a personal connection between TMU alumni student-athletes and the Ram, the university’s former mascot. To honour that connection, alumni student-athletes were invited to purchase their specific jersey or former team uniform.

All proceeds will go to the TMU Equity and Inclusion Award, external link.

The deadline to request purchase was September 30, 2022. Please contact the project team with any questions.

Contact us

Contact Gina Vaccaro at if you have specific questions about branded items and options the program may have to divert them from landfill.

Interested in volunteering? Here’s how you can get involved

The Branded Materials Transition Project is an initiative with a broad and diverse scope and it would benefit greatly from the energy, enthusiasm and dedication of our community.  If you would like to participate as a volunteer to support this sustainability initiative, please contact Gina Vaccaro at

TMU Staff and Volunteers

  • Gina Vaccaro, Project Lead:
    Manager of Finance and Strategic Operations in the Department of Athletics and Recreation.
  • Narishdath Maraj, Project Lead Assistant:
    An Alumni of the Fashion Communication Program at TMU, Narishdath is the founder and designer of Narishdath Maraj Design INC., a fashion design and visual arts company focused on upcycling and textile waste reduction.
  • Brooklyn Gemmell, Project Assistant:
    A graduate of TMU’s Criminology program, Brooklyn is currently enrolled in the university’s Community Engagement, Development and Leadership Certificate Program, as well as being Left Wing on the TMU Women's Hockey Team.

Thank you to all our staff volunteers:

  • Mohamed Abdelwahab
  • Sarah Carmichael
  • Sarah Edmonds
  • Mike Hollands
  • Dan Howe
  • Alexander Husarewych
  • Ian Ingles
  • Ashton Jila
  • Samantha Read
  • Mindy Vuong