Murdoch wins environment award

November 29, 2011

Murdoch University’s best practice recycling and waste management system has won a Western Australia Environment Award.

A series of initiatives including the installation of dual purpose bins throughout the South Street campus, speaking to staff about recycling at inductions, improving signage and introducing BYO mug schemes at campus cafes has helped to improve the recycling rate by 27.6 per cent since 2009.

Targeted education campaigns have also reduced the incidence of recyclable goods in the waste bins from 20 per cent to 0.8 per cent of total waste. And the contamination of recycling bins has also improved from 41 per cent waste in recycling bins in 2010 to 31 per cent in 2011.

The university’s Environmental Program Manager Caroline Minton said that managing waste on Murdoch’s large and diverse campus was a challenge.

“The South Street campus not only incorporates more than 90 university buildings but large tenants including Wesfarmers and Campus Living Villages, and a constant influx of new students,” she said.

“As such we need a very specific plan for each situation, continuous improvement on those plans and a lot of attention to detail to achieve the reductions in waste and improvements in recycling that we have.

“The commitment by our cleaning and waste collection providers, and supporting funding from the Packaging Stewardship Forum as well as significant investment by the university, has been critical to the project’s success.”

Ms Minton added that she hoped the university’s efforts in recycling would flow through to the workplaces and homes of students and staff off campus.

“We’re very proud that we’ve managed to divert many tonnes from landfill because one of the university’s core values is sustainability,” she said.

“But we also want to be leaders at a corporate and community level so that our practices go beyond our campus.”

The university’s team of environment, sustainability and operations workers collected the Resource and Waste Management accolade at a gala dinner hosted by the Department of Environment and Conservation on Friday.

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