Compostables on Campus

The University has removed single-use plastic catering packaging on campus to increase the volume of organic recycling by 59% and avoid 27.7 tonnes of waste to landfill.

Compostables on campus signage in Napier building

The 'Compostables on Campus' campaign involved transitioning all catering packaging to 100% compostable, and educating staff and students to improve recycling rates. Once removed from campus, packaging and other organic waste is repurposed into landscape products by our service provider, Jefferies, and reused as soil and mulch.

During the campaign, the University introduced a Plastic-Free Event rule and provided more than 150 compostable catering packs for student clubs. Additional public place organic recycling bins were installed and eye-catching signage and displays helped accentuate the message. 'Barista Banter' pop-up events held at campus cafes, allowed staff and students to talk with vendors and win a range of reusable cups, utensils and containers. 

Overview

  • Campaign period: Semester 1, 2021
  • Campaign components: events, giveaways, signage, cardboard art installations, online communications
  • Participating cafes: Grind & Press, Taste Baguette, Penang, Nourish, UniBar, Bean Bar, Canteen by Phonatic, Hubba Hubba Hummus, Maitlidi Cafe, Staff Club, The General, The Store, The National Wine Centre
  • Plastic items avoided: Hundreds of thousands
  • Landfill reduction during campaign period: 7%, equivalent to 44.3 tonnes CO2-e

To learn more about the project, contact Libby Hogarth, Sustainable Development Planner.

Awards

This project was recognised at the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Awards 2021 as a joint winner in the Achievement in Circular Economy category.

The Compostables on Campus campaign is a demonstration of the University’s ongoing efforts to leverage sustainable change across leasing and procurement, facilities management, resource recovery partners, and staff and student behaviour, to create a more circular campus.

Plastic-free legislation

On September 9 2020, the SA Parliament passed the Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020. This legislation is the first of its kind in Australia and a positive step towards avoiding waste. 

The legislation banned single-use plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers in South Australia from March 1 2021.

Expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates, clamshell containers and oxo-degradable plastic products (e.g. most dog waste bags) will be prohibited from sale, supply or distribution in South Australia from March 1, 2022.

Read more at the Replace the Waste website.