Waste management and its impact on the environment is a concern for most students and staff at Universities. In 2018, The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Estate Management set out to address these concerns by developing a food waste management plan that would eliminate single-use plastics, minimise waste sent to landfills, and improve recycling and composting behaviour on campus (source).
An important component of the program was collaborating with key stakeholders to ensure its success. UNSW worked with campus retail partners, all UNSW childcare centres and residential college kitchens to collect food waste that came from their food preparation and kitchen areas. In addition, UNSW also established an outdoor bin system that allowed their community to efficiently recycle waste. These bins included disposals for food & compostable packaging, drink bottles & cans, and general waste.
UNSW has seen tremendous growth in their waste management, with its campus now recycling over 30 tonnes of food waste per month – that’s equivalent to saving 14,570 litres of petrol a year! The food waste collected from UNSW is then composted in a controlled environment resulting in high-quality compost for commercial use. For every tonne of food waste deposited, about 300kWh of power is generated, enough to power an average home for two weeks (source).
The University has not only made incredible strides in improving its waste practices and behaviour but also increased environmental awareness among students and staff as well as contributed to the conservation of natural resources.
*Header image courtesy of University of New South Wales
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