News from the UC Sustainability Office

Composting Cups and Recycling at UC – April 2015

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Welcome to the first UC “waste” update of the year in which we give you an update on the Compostable Coffee Cup trial we started last year and look at UC’s waste streams.

As you may remember, last year we trialled a ‘blue bin’ on campus to collect used single-use coffee cups, which we then took to Selwyn District Council to be put through their composting unit. The trial was successful and we have decided to expand it!

Look out for these posters, which are placed near blue bins around campus.

Look out for these posters, which are placed near blue bins around campus.

So, if you get single use takeaway coffee, put your cup in one of the blue bins that you will start to see more of around campus. And please please please, tell your mates NOT TO CONTAMINATE these bins! For the system to work, there must be no plastic or any material other than coffee cups. So no lids either.

The exciting thing is that this also means that we can now introduce ‘compostable’ cups to UC. Previously, these have not been acceptable because our green bins are sent to a compost plant that cannot deal with them, and they needed to go to landfill instead.

In time, we may well be able to expand the blue bin service to take other compostable items, and we are working on this. Exciting times!

We are very grateful to all the people who are using this blue bin properly – contamination rates have been very low and we need to keep it that way.

The Sustainability Office is also looking hard at our waste streams and recycling again. As predicted a couple of years ago, we are now facing more pressure around which items can be recycled and which cannot. For example, we have recently been informed that takeaway coffee cups lids are no longer recyclable 😦 This is the tip of the waste iceberg, and we’re looking for options.

Also, a quick thanks to everyone for their efforts during the CRT Amnesty in August this year. As part of the CRT Amnesty, old CRT monitors were collected from around the UC  campus and recycled, rather than sent to landfill! Many CRTs came in at the last minute; in total, 37 CRTs and 4 televisions were recycled at a cost of $789-00. This means that approximately 44 kilograms of lead was diverted from the landfill. A great result! Whoop!

To check out what else we do to create a sustainable campus, check out our website http://www.sustain.canterbury.ac.nz/#.

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Author: Puck Algera - UC Sustainability Office

Puck worked at the Sustainability Office at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. As the Sustainability Projects Coordinator, she kept busy with student and staff engagement, providing strategic input and advice and organising sustainability-focused events.

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