All posts by Puck

Puck works at the Sustainability Office at the University of Canterbury. As the Sustainability Projects Coordinator, she provides strategic input for the UC Campus Master Plan, implements communication strategies related to sustainability, and supports sustainability-focused events. Puck Algera has a Ph.D. in sustainability and corporate responsibility from the Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the University of Canterbury.

Will you take on the Plastic Free July challenge?

Flo 3Fourth-year Civil Eng student Flo is one of the UC students who is going plastic free during Plastic Free July. Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives and challenges people to do something about it. Flo shared some of her plastic free tips, and explains why she is doing it.  

What will you try to do during July?
To cut out all waste actually, not just plastic! This means not purchasing single use items, no wastage (not even recycling). However, I will use the organics collection bin because it’s a great system in Christchurch for making compost.

Why are you doing the challenge?
I think waste and consumerism have become two really big problems in today’s society. So many items are being created just for convenience, driven by purely short-term thinking and yet this will ruin us in the long term. By doing this challenge I want to show people that it is possible to live without creating as much waste!

What do you think is going to be hard?
I think going out for dinner, and going for drinks/social occasions will be challenging as it’s not a social norm to carry around your own container or glass to drink from! I also think being able to resists bargains when I am shopping will be hard, even when they are wrapped in single use plastic.

Cup Bamboo

What are some of your favourite waste-free items?
I have a little wee cup set that I keep in my bag 24/7 just in case I want a beverage on the go, and there are only plastic cups. I am also pretty passionate about waste-free bathroom products. I have a safety razor that is not made of plastic and can be reused. The one I have cost about $13 and came in only cardboard packaging with tonnes of little refill blades and it works a treat! I also love my trusty bamboo toothbrush, just google ‘bamboo toothbrush’ and you’ll find heaps of options. Instead of bottled shampoo or soap, I use shampoo bars and soaps. I order mine locally from Ethique, which is run by a UC alumni! I recommend trying out the starter packs. I use a menstrual cup for that time of the month, the UC pharmacy stocks them or you can find them (cheaper) online, and I honestly think it was the best purchase I have ever made!

Want more info on plastic free bathroom products? Check out:

Are you keen to take on the Plastic Free July challenge too? You don’t have to go all out! You can choose to do it for a week or the whole month and you can either refuse ALL single-use plastic or the TOP 4: plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws. Have a look on the website for ideas on how to get started (and no, you don’t need to sign up)!

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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Do you have a great idea for Eco Week 2017?

In September (18-22) the UC Sustainability Office will host UC Eco Week. This yearly festival of events celebrates and promotes everything to do with sustainability.

Including events that are of interest and relevance to staff is important to us, so we would love your input.  Perhaps you would like to know more about electric vehicles? Are you interested in a tour around the ‘green’ buildings on campus? Or maybe YOU are passionate about something sustainability-related and would like to share that in a workshop or lecture (eg, composting, beekeeping, your research). You might know a great speaker and would like to invite them, or have seen a thought-provoking movie and would like to see it screened.

If so … write down an outline of your idea and send it to Puck Algera at the UC Sustainability Office (puck.algera@canterbury.ac.nz) before the end of May.

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

Some of the Eco Week events run last year.

Some of the Eco Week events run last year.

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UC Bike Parking Update

The Sustainability Office is currently working on a plan to get 1,500 additional bike parks onto campus. This needs to be done as a staged project given that many sites we want to put bike stands in are currently under construction or have hoardings around them. However, we are making progress. For example, we have recently placed an order for an additional 300 bike parks, which should be in place in the next few months. Additionally, parking for 110 bikes is currently becoming available on the north side of Engineering and the Health Centre. Last term we also welcomed back the enclosed bike parking facility on Creyke Rd (for 80 bikes), which had been unavailable for two years.

fullsizerender-002Also, you will start seeing these posters around in the secure cycle stands as an integral part of UC’s programme towards more secure cycle parking.

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 Bike gives new life to UC’s abandoned bikes

thumb_IMG_1679_1024Earlier 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 $1,300, 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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Tour the most innovative and sustainable homes in Christchurch during May

Thanks to the Superhome Movement you  have a great opportunity to look through 10 of Christchurch’s most sustainable and innovative homes each weekend in May. This is a self-guided tour, which starts this weekend. The houses are open 11 am – 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

During the tour of the homes you can talk with the builders or designers about the technologies and features of each home. For more details about each home visit www.superhome.co.nz . For the tour map, see below.

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CCC Eco-Design Advisor service

Also, if you are thinking about designing or building a new home, CCC has an Eco-Design Advisor available for free consultations. To talk with an Eco Design Advisor, call (03) 941 8999 or email eco-advisor@ccc.govt.nz. For more details visit: www.ccc.govt.nz/ecodesign 

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