Volunteers sort through half a tonne of waste

11 April 2013

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Students sort through a sample of waste. The foreground shows the amount of plastic bottles, cans, paper and cardboard recovered so far.

21 student and staff volunteers found themselves sorting through almost four hundred kilos of waste in the Quad in April.

Waste was collected from the Quad, sorted through and separated into recyclable, compostable and general waste in order to assess how the University’s waste recycling systems are being used.

“We’ve already done an amazing job in tripling our recovery of recycling materials since 2007 but this tells us that bottles and cans are still being thrown in the rubbish and ending up in landfills,” says Lesley Stone, Manager for the University’s Sustainability and Environment Programme.

Of the 16 wheelie bins that were used in the audit, each with a volume capacity of 240 litres, 3 bins could’ve been filled with the amount of bottles, cans and office paper that was recovered during the audit.

The audit also showed the need to address the volume of food packaging and coffee cups and other disposables on our Campus.

In line with the engagement aspect of the audit, volunteers spoke with curious passersby, explaining what was taking place and what could be done to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Lexie Sandano, Sustainability and Environment Programme Assistant said “we will be doing this again and will be looking for more volunteers”.

Tips for reducing the amount of waste you send to landfill

  • Use bins allocated for bottles and cans, and for paper and cardboard, for recycling.
  • Purchase and use reusable cutlery.
  • Bring plates or containers from home.
  • Purchase a reusable coffee cup, such as the University-branded Keep Cup