News from the UC Sustainability Office


Leave a comment

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

Save


Leave a comment

Record gathering of electric vehicles at UC

All the cars in the photo, except for a few at top right, drive only on electricity.

By Professor Dave Kelly from Biological Sciences.

On Saturday 22 April a new New Zealand record was set for the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in one place, in the Arts car park at UC.

The record attempt was organized by the Christchurch EV Group, in connection with the Christchurch leg of the Bluff to Cape Reinga EV trip organised by Leading the Charge, a national EV advocacy group.

The previous NZ record of 62 EVs, set in Auckland, was well broken with exactly 100 EVs gathering. That’s about 5% of the national total of EVs, with about 2,200 registered for road use throughout New Zealand as of early April. The number of EVs in the country is rising rapidly with the 2017 total being about double that of a year ago.

This row is nearly all Leafs, with one BMW i3 and one Mitsubishi iMiev.

As well as the 100 road-legal cars there were three other electric vehicles, including an electric racing car built and exhibited by the UC Engineering School. UC has been researching into electric vehicles for several decades, with the electronics which control the motor being a key part of any effective road electric vehicle. The use of the Arts car park was supported by UC’s VC Rod Carr, because of this link to UC Engineering and also UC’s commitment to sustainability.

The 100 EVs present included 62 Nissan Leafs, the most common pure electric vehicle in NZ.

For more info on the record attempt and the Christchurch EV group see their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChristchurchEVGroup/

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

Save

Save

Save


Leave a comment

UC students discover native birds thriving on Ilam campus

Bellbird and chicks. Photo credit Jim Briskie.

A chance discovery and a new survey by University of Canterbury students have shown that both the range and abundance of native bird species have increased at the university’s Ilam campus almost 500 per cent in the last 26 years.

Last year, as part of a lab exercise for Biology 273 (New Zealand Biodiversity and Biosecurity), a group of UC students created a bird atlas of the UC campus and compared it to a similar atlas from 1990 (by Krystyna Dodunski, a former Zoology student).

The results of the survey indicate that in the 26 years that have passed all native species increased in range and abundance, with an increase of almost 500% in the total number of native birds observed. One species, the bellbird, is now in the early stages of colonising campus. And fantails, grey warblers and silvereyes have all become significantly more abundant on campus.

The greatest diversity of native birds occurred along the campus waterways. Professor Jim Briskie (School of Biological Sciences) says it is likely that the changes are a product of increased plantings of native trees (favoured by native birds) and decreased open space (habitat favoured by many introduced species). Maintaining and expanding native plantings at UC could also help to further increase the range of native birds, like the native pigeon or kererū.

Given the dependence of bellbirds on flowering and fruiting trees, Professor Briskie suggests it is worth considering plantings that provide this resource, and to ensure that the current small population of bellbirds does not disappear. Restoring species that formerly occurred in the Christchurch area but are now locally extinct could be a long-term goal for the management of the campus green spaces.

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

Save


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

New students: Introducing the UCSustainability Office

img_0464aWelcome to UC! Did you know that UC has a Sustainability Office?

We are an on-campus hub for people interested in creating positive change. We promote sustainable practices (like sustainable transport, re-usable cups); inform (about recycling practices, social or environmental issues) and host events (Eco week, Tiny house tours, etc.).

We work on healthy waterways and bike stands; and currently, together with other parties at UC, we are also guiding UC towards becoming a Fair Trade University. We work closely with the UC Eco Clubs and do  innovative projects, like UC’s compositing coffee cups trial.

We also run the UC Community Gardens (join in with a working bee, Fridays 1-5 pm) and Dr Bike (yes, they will do your small bike repairs for free!).

Stay connected: follow us on Facebook or Instagram, or check out our website.

Save

Save


Leave a comment

Dr Bike is back for 2017!

Olly (L) and Zac (R)

Dr Bike  is back for 2017 and starts on Tuesday the 28th of February! Dr Bike is a free fix-it clinic for basic bike issues available to both staff and students, funded by the Sustainability Office. This service provides basic maintenance and repairs such as punctures repair, tuning brakes and oiling chains.

Olly Ng and Zac Porter are running Dr Bike on Tuesdays, 12-1.30 pm on C Block lawn during term time. For more information, check here.

We are excited that Dr Bike will be using eco-friendly bicycle lubricants, thanks to Christchurch-based company Biomaxa!

If you’re interested in seeing how Dr Bike fits into the bigger picture about planning for cyclists at UC, you might like to look at the draft UC Cycle Plan 2014-2022.

Welcome back to uni and keep an eye out for these guys on Tuesdays!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Leave a comment

UC’s Sustainable Furniture: You might be sitting on Banks Peninsula wool!

 img_3806aWhen we talk about sustainability, it’s often about waste reduction or energy efficiency but not about procurement (how UC buys its goods from external parties). That’s a shame because UC’s procurement of “new” furniture has great sustainability features! We had a chat to Shelley Ranson from UC Procurement.

What does your team do? We provide purchasing and procurement services to the University.  In terms of Sustainability, we want to maximise social and economic benefits, and minimise damage to health and the environment. Often this means giving time to explore possibilities. For instance, by talking openly with supply partners we encourage them to review their existing sustainability initiatives and explore new opportunities. The Furniture Project is a recent example of this. 

The Furniture Project? With the pending completion of several major new buildings, and UC’s ‘normal’ ongoing requirement for new furniture, it wasn’t possible to furnish from existing stock, and a lot of new furniture was required. We selected four preferred supplies and a core catalogue range. During the project a Furniture Policy was written as well.

What sustainable features does the new furniture have? The core range furniture has the following features:

  • Environmental responsible manufacturing: Materials are low emission, sustainably sourced and designed for disassembly at end-of-life
  • Socially responsible manufacturing: Chain of custody for manufacture particularly with regard to working conditions of off-shore labour
  • Durability: E.g. AFRDI* and BIFMA** accreditation. This means the furniture is tough enough to withstand the high wear and tear environment of a university and won’t break or wear out as quickly as standard furniture
  • Ergonomic features: So that workplace health and safety is supported
  • Future reuse or recycling potential: The ability to relocate furniture for continued use around campus by establishing a standard range of furniture
  • Excellent warranty periods: Reducing whole-of-life costs and extending the functional life of the furniture

Developing a transparent supply chain has enabled us to understand the source materials and the location of manufacturing of our core range. Some of the selected products are locally manufactured in New Zealand. One example is the brand of soft seat covering of which the wool is produced from Banks Peninsula sheep!

What inspired the sustainability element in procurement decisions? Procurement meets fortnightly with the Sustainability Office to discuss current img_3808a projects and new initiatives. Through these discussions we have been able to identify potential ways in which UC can increase the use of environmental and socially responsible products and services. Also, Bronwyn Rice (our Procurement Strategist) comes from a background of sustainable procurement and brings her experience with Australian universities to UC.

And the old furniture, what happens to it? A robust disposal guideline is being followed, which means, for instance, that any furniture that can be reused will be stored***. We are also reviewing options for re-covering existing chairs to extend their life cycle. Obsolete items are at times given away or sold to local schools, education charities or UC staff/students. Our furniture storage partner (Allied Pickfords) has several partnerships, including charities, to facilitate this. Obsolete items are broken into component parts for scrap and recycling. Landfill is a last resort for damaged items that cannot be re-used, gifted or recycled in any way.

Finally, what are some of the other sustainable procurement initiatives? One is our collaboration with Futureworks, our Audio-Visual (AV) supplier. At the design stage, they advise on environmentally friendly options for installations (e.g. RMS is a solution that reduces energy consumption by remotely turning off equipment in empty rooms). They also offer environmentally friendly hardware disposal by arranging the delivery of obsolete hardware to recycling organisations. Another exciting collaboration is with our preferred Catering suppliers. They engage in a variety of activities, like supporting local producers where possible, using fair trade products, offering BYO mug options or arranging for food waste to go to farms.

Some other initiatives we are exploring include: Removal of packaging; compostable packaging including coffee cups, plates etc.; paper trial underway through UC print (Chamex) made from renewable and certified Brazilian forests; new cleaning consumable supplier (Advance Clean) who manufactures own range of eco-friendly cleaning products (Advance Nature); new preferred transport provider (Red Bus) are leaders in fuel efficiency and emissions reduction.

The University is in a great position to instigate change within supply chains and to support sustainability at a local business level.

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

*Australasian Furnishing Research and Development Institute                            **Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association ***Any furniture requirements should be done via a BEIMS request. More information available here.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save