Industry News, News, Queensland

University initiative results in 800,000 plastic items diverted from landfill

The University of Queensland has stopped more than 800,000 plastic items from going to landfill in the past eight months through an initiative that targets single-use plastic on campus.

The UQ Unwrapped initiative is reducing the university’s ‘plastic footprint’ by encouraging UQ retailers, events and markets to adopt reusable or compostable alternatives.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bronwyn Harch, said UQ Unwrapped brings the university community together to act on the issue of single-use plastic consumption through practical initiatives and an action-based membership model.

“Reducing plastic use complements the university’s exciting research currently being undertaken into new forms of biodegradable plastics.”

The initiative currently has 21 members, three plastic free champions and 13 certified UQ events.

“Not only have they reduced single plastic-use, they have also collected 4.5 tonnes of organic waste from compostable food ware to ensure valuable organic matter is recaptured and returned to the food chain through farmland application.

“I encourage everyone to join the growing number of people taking the issue of single-use plastics seriously,” Harch said.

UQ Unwrapped includes the roll-out of Green Caffeen, which allows registered users to swap and go coffee cups from participating outlets.

The state as a whole has also had some wins recently with the container deposit scheme (CDS) target reaching its goal three months ahead of schedule.

More than 700 million containers have been returned across Queensland since the CDS started nine months ago.

Queensland Minister for Environment, Leeanne Enoch, said the volume of returned containers was about a third higher than predicted.

“The scheme is three months ahead of schedule, which is amazing. It is a clear indication that Queenslanders care about recycling and are embracing this scheme,” Enoch said.