As part of UniSC's commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, UniSC has adopted measures to manage and minimise our waste. In 2013, UniSC became the first University in Australia to adopt a total waste streaming system that includes onsite processing of green/organic waste and our innovative waste programs have won prestigious awards, including:
- Highly Commended Award in the Premier's Sustainability Awards 2015
- Australasian Campuses Toward Sustainability Green Gown Award for Carbon Reduction 2014
- Sunshine Coast Council Good Recycling Award 2013
Managing our waste has the added benefit of keeping our native biodiversity safe and healthy. These efforts contributed to the University's strong performance in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings in the areas of Life below Water and Life on Land.
Since implementing the sustainable waste management program in 2013, the waste stream mix shows that considerable waste is being diverted from landfill and is either being recycled or composted onsite. The following figures summarise waste streaming at University-controlled campuses:
- Organic waste composted onsite in 2022, using Sunshine Coast-based OSCA (on-site composting apparatus), totalled 4.21 tonnes. The mix is close to 50% wet waste (food and liquids) and 50% dry waste (paper towels and starch-based compostable food and drink containers), approximately 2.1 tonnes of each. Green waste isn't included as native grass clippings are left on the ground to enrich the soil.
- Recycling and organic waste represented approximately 54% of the Sunshine Coast campus' waste in 2022.
- This recycling and organic waste is made up of the following streams: general recycling/plastic and glass (~15%), paper/cardboard (~47%), organic/green waste (~4%), confidential/paper waste (~16%), eWaste (~9%), metal (~6%) and small recyclables (~1%; soft plastics, fluorescent lighting tubes, batteries and polystyrene).
- UniSC computer equipment is recycled annually through a company that scrubs and reuses equipment in working order and strips and recycles parts from equipment that isn't in working order.
UniSC is continuing to add streams to divert more waste from landfill. The Containers for Change and operational batteries streams have been relaunched and expanded to Moreton Bay and new streams around clear soft plastics and excess dry organic waste were established in 2021. The proceeds from the Containers for Change have the added benefit of raising funds for our selected charity. Polystyrene was added as a waste stream at the Sunshine Coast campus in 2022 to recycle the waste generated by purchase of white goods and electronics and utilised for the transfer of lab samples.
An Operational Waste Management Plan (PDF, 1.52mb) has been developed, as set out in the Campus Master Plan, to provide an overview of how waste is managed across all UniSC campuses and sites. Advanced guidelines are available in regards to disposal of hazardous waste.
On-site Composting Apparatus (OSCA)
The University's OSCA composting machine transforms organic waste into nutrient-rich compost for the campus gardens.
Rethink your drink
Choose to reuse and bring your own cup
Sustainable waste recovery initiatives
Our waste recovery initiatives support responsible waste management.
As part of UniSC's commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, Print Services are committed to use sustainable paper and processes.