Following the successful implementation of paper recycling over the last few years, UTAS has entered an exciting new era on their sustainability journey. The UTAS Resource Recovery Program (RRP) is a comprehensive program rolling out progressively across several university campuses with Students and staff alike already noticing, and actively participating in, a range of sustainability initiatives.
New innovative Signage Sets Tone for Inclusiveness
New Public Place Recycling bins marked the start of the program. Specifically designed UTAS waste management signage was created to reflect the inclusive nature and increasing internationalisation of the University. From a distance, the standard three arrow recycling symbol appears, which is made up of words that say “RECYCLE” in the top eleven languages spoken by students and staff at UTAS. This design is mirrored across the international standard colours for general waste (red), paper (blue), newsprint (grey), cardboard (brown), and batteries (pink). Corey Peterson, Sustainability Manager, points to the significance of this approach:
“We are very excited about this aspect of the program as it ensures that all members of our community know they are a part of our sustainability efforts.”
Entire buildings get customised recycling solutions
Sustainability Representatives oversaw the shift to new sustainability practices across entire buildings, as diverse as a rural clinic school in Burnie Campus Library, to the Uni gym, research houses, uni facilities, and corporate service buildings. The approach to implement the MultiSort system through entire buildings, rather than phasing based on services, was deliberate, allowing for easier management and the gathering of data through waste assessments, to both measure the success of the program and inform program expansion options.
Sustainability Representatives were key with the team at RCS, including Nick Towle and Veronica Moore, typical of the dedication shown, completing a full audit, including separating the waste by hand to determine quantities and types, which then fed into the unique mix of bins provided to maximise yield in each building.
Food waste collection trial
A food waste collection trial is now underway at the four main food outlets at the Sandy Bay campus in a co-operative arrangement between all stakeholders. This six month trial aims to collect all food waste (except, of course, that which is already diverted to staff member’s chooks, pigs, and goats!) including bones, leftovers, and the compostable cutlery and plates. Utilising the Source Separation Systems Compost- A-Pak® MultiSort liners this waste is then delivered to hot composting facilities. The quantifiable environmental benefits are assisting to build enthusiasm and commitment for the program… and why not with methane producing materials from the McRobies Gulley landfill now diverted to hot composting facilities which is then used to create fantastic gardening materials.
Delivering on the highest priority
The enthusiasm for the sustainability program is evident across the campus. Students and staff alike are successfully, separating waste into the various resource recovery streams, decreasing the load size and emptying frequency of the general rubbish bins, and so generating savings, which are offsetting some costs of providing recycling services. Implementing an effective resource recovery program was rated as one of the highest priority activities in surveys of UTAS staff and students over the past year, and this program is certainly delivering results