Tag Archives: Reducing waste

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

Save

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:

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

50K Coffee Cups Composted: What’s next?

We have been operating our coffee cups collection trial for two years now, after starting the initial trial back in 2014. Now the trial is at an end and we can report that we have diverted around 50,000 coffee cups from landfill, and sent them to be composted. This is great – but we still have a long way to go.

We will now be continuing with our coffee cup collection system, and hopefully expanding it so there are more collection points around campus. We are also looking to shift from the current type of coffee cups to a version that is certified compostable, and we should see some advances in this area over the next 12-18 months.

The OSCAWe were very excited to see the on-site composting of food waste and coffee cups at the University of the Sunshine Coast in their OSCA – On-Site Composting Apparatus. This simple system makes it possible to produce a high-grade compost on site (imagine how this could aid the creation of an Edible Campus, for example!) and eliminate some of the forms of waste we currently struggle with at UC (especially food grade plastic packaging). Check out the OSCA here for some inspiration!

We do ask yoIMG_0734au to follow the instructions on the blue and other recycling bins on campus. So no lids in the blue bins, or other items, just the single-use cups. We are noticing a lot of contamination in the bins (items in the wrong bins), and this means (for instance) that recycling is incorrectly and unnecessarily sent to landfill. We really need your help to reduce waste on campus!

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