News from the UC Sustainability Office


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UC Bike gives new life to UC’s abandoned bikes

Earlier this year, in collaboration with UC Security and the UC Sustainability Office, UC Bike repaired, recycled and sold bikes that had been abandoned on campus. “The goal was recycling bikes and putting more people in the university community on bikes rather than making money off already cash strapped students”, Zac Porter from UC Bike explained.

In total UC Security donated 18 bikes that had been left unattended for between 1 and 3 years. Using the UC Sustainability Office’s Dr Bike tools, Olly, Zac, Ben and Brad repaired as many of these as they could. “Of these 18, we managed to get 14 running and gave them all a service, recycling what we could of the bikes that were too broken. We had quite a few franken-bikes by the end!” One of the bikes had been stolen and was re-united with its original owner.

The bikes were then sold to current and past students at a fraction of what they were worth. In total, UC Bike made over $1300, which will be spent on holding events such as Mechanics Nights to further benefit the cycling community at UC. “On Mechanics Nights we teach the basics of bike maintenance, such as how to tune a derailleur, fix flat tires, adjust brakes or anything else the attendees may want to learn on the night.” The next one will be in term 2 with the date yet to be confirmed. Keep an eye out for the event notification on UC Bike’s Facebook page!

For this year all the recycled bikes have been sold but UC Bike plans to do this every year as an ongoing initiative.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us on sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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You can now recycle your soft plastics!

Photo credit: Soft Plastics

Photo credit: Soft Plastic Recycling

Rice bags, chocolate bar wrappers … you can now recycle them! Have you seen these bins in your local supermarket and wondered, what can I put in it?

The Love NZ Soft Plastic Recycling Programme is a new industry-led recycling programme that diverts soft plastics from landfill and turns them into new products.

New Zealanders use around 1.6 billion plastic bags every year, that means that 4.3 million are thrown away each day! These soft plastic bags are not currently collected for recycling by councils because they can contaminate the recycling process.

What plastic do the bins take? It takes all soft plastic bags including bread bags, frozen food bags, toilet paper packaging, confectionery and biscuit wraps, chip bags, pasta and rice bags, courier envelopes, shopping bags, chocolate and muesli bar wrappers, sanitary hygiene packaging . Anything made of plastic that can be scrunched into a ball. Make sure the plastic is reasonably clean and dry.

Capture 2

Photo credit: Soft Plastic Recycling

Where? You can find your closest store on the store locator. Currently the project is focused on supermarkets and retailers but this may extend to educational institutions (like UC!).

What happens after collection? The plastic is collected by Abilities Group, an organisation established to create meaningful employment for people with disabilities. The collected plastic is sent to Australia where it is transformed into robust plastic products like outdoor furniture, bollards and recycling bins.

What else can you do? Reducing plastic is still the best option. So think about:

– Shop in bulk or trash free: There is Bin Inn of course and shops like Piko Wholefoods Co-Operative and Harbour Co-op.

– Getting a string bag for your fruit and vege in addition to your cloth shopping bag. Check out these organic ones

– Reduce your food wrapping waste by getting (or making) a non-plastic one e.g. Honeywrap or Keep Leaf

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz


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UC’s recycling changes for 2016

UC has made some changes to its recycling system – because, unfortunately, some types of plastic and packaging are no longer being accepted by UC’s end-point recyclers. So read the stickers on the bins before you recycle! Stickers for approximately 900 bins were located and updated! IMG_2008

Some items that used to be recycled must now be put in the red landfill bins. Examples of items that must now be put in the red landfill bins include:

    • plastic lids off single use takeaway cups
    • yoghurt and cardboard pottles
    • sandwich packs
    • sushi containers
    • cardboard pottles

So sort your waste according to these new stickers and if in doubt, put your item into the red landfill bin. This will prevent recycling becoming contaminated. This is important because whole truckloads can be rejected by end-point recyclers if there is too much contamination in the bins.

This will be the new stickers you will see on the bins.

ENGS5219_Waste_Change_FB2ENGS5219_Waste_Change_FB

 

 

 

For more information on Recycling at UC check here.


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UC Furniture Adoption Day

The secoSustainability Officend UC Furniture Adoption Day in February began with a bang as punters sprinted to, and swarmed over, 12 containers-worth of furniture surplus to university requirements. People often piled their choices into a little furniture castle, and left somebody sitting on top of it to stop others from grabbing it whilst they went to retrieve their transport to cart it away! Most of the furniture was claimed in less than an hour.

This event ticks so many key sustainability boxes for UC. Not only does it re-purpose perfectly useful gear for a community who clearly needs appreciates it, but it also prevents a phenomenal volume of materials being sent to the landfill.

Crowds waitingTesting the wares ... or guarding it?BrowsingCars lining up.


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Composting Cups and Recycling at UC – April 2015

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/#.