University of the Sunshine Coast Australia conservation recycling education efforts, Compostable cups biodegradable cling-wrap, Water and energy conservation

From the University of the Sunshine Coast.

“Sustainability is an important focus of the cleaning contract, with the inclusion of a solar-powered buggy and the use of micro-fibre cloths rather than cleaning chemicals, for example. Cleaning is carried out during the day to reduce overnight energy use.

Sustainability is a key component in the tendering and design process for buildings.

The University shares sporting facilities, car parking and storm water run-off with Chancellor State College to minimise infrastructure and environmental footprint.

Paper usage has been minimised with conversion to electronic invoicing and receipting.

Hand towels have been replaced with blow dryers in toilets on campus.

The University’s Recycling and Waste Officer monitors all waste and checks the contamination levels in recycling bins, and takes part in education programs. There is also a waste management plan to recycle, use recycled products and treat hazardous waste.

Recyclable cutlery made of 100% corn starch and compostable cups are used in the Brasserie and other food outlets.

Biodegradable cling-wrap is being used in Brasserie kitchen trials. The wrap breaks down in sunlight and allows air to circulate around the product. The wrap is certifiable to European compostable standards.

A trial is to be undertaken to assess the viability of harvesting waste oil from fryers and distilling it into biodiesel to run tractors and mowers.”

Water refill campus initiative.

“The University of the Sunshine Coast is a Water Refill Campus providing a variety of alternative options to purchasing commercial bottled water on campus. This initiative aligns with the University’s goal to reduce waste going to landfill and empowers the USC community to be environmentally responsible through providing a variety of alternative choices. By choosing to refill your water you can save money and help us to prevent approximately 40,000 plastic water bottles per year going to landfill.

In partnership with Do Something! and Pro Acqua, the University is showing commitment and leadership to sustainability through providing a true alternative to bottled water with the installation of three water refill vending machines. These machines dispense chilled, micron-filtered still or sparkling water for a substantially low cost to users. USC also provides 18 free aqua bubblers (bottle refilling stations) and over 50 water fountains across the campus.

Download the Water Refill Station Map (PDF 1.4MB) *.

The decision for the University to support this initiative was made after a USC survey revealed that 82 percent of participants said they would support a ban of bottled water sales on campus if alternative water choices were made available on campus. As a result, in the period from July 2014 – June 2015 (which includes bottled water sold on campus up until February 2015), USC has saved a huge 29,711 600ml plastic water bottles from being sold on campus. That equates to 817kg of PET saved from landfill and 767kg of CO2 emissions.

Official Launch

The official launch kicked off in February 2015 during USC ‘s Welcome Week with guest speakers from Pro Acqua and Tanagaroa Blue Foundation. This marked the beginning of commercial bottled water no longer being sold on campus with hundreds of students attending the launch and happily receiving a free Watersmart card and refillable bottle from Pro Acqua. Tangaroa Blue CEO Heidi Taylor said the changes were aligned with the work of the not-for-profit environmental foundation, which focuses on the health of Australia’s marine environment: “We’re using this as a case study to show how really local projects can result in less waste, and if we have less waste, we have less ending up in the environment or in the ocean,” Ms Taylor said.

Refillable bottles500ml-bottle-(2).jpg

The University encourages people to bring their own bottle or purchase a bottle or a large compostable cup from any campus food outlet on campus.

The University no longer sells commercial bottled water on campus.”

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