As part of USC's commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, USC has adopted measures to manage and minimise our waste. In 2013, USC 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
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 the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay campuses:
- Recycling and Organic waste represented over 40% of USC's waste in 2020.
- This recycling and organic waste is made up of the following streams: general recycling/plastic and glass (3.92%), paper/cardboard (12.84%), organic/green waste (2.90%), confidential/paper waste (14.54%), eWaste (5.72%) and fluorescent lighting tubes (0.14%).
- USC 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.
USC is continuing to add streams to divert more waste from landfill. The Containers for Change and operational batteries streams have been relaunched and new streams around clear soft plastics and excess dry organic waste have been established in 2021. The proceeds from the Containers for Change have the added benefit of raising funds for our selected charity, Detection Dogs for Conservation.
USC is also starting to use ASPIRE, an online circular economy platform, to rehome items that are in good working order which are no longer needed at the University.
An Operational Waste Management Plan (PDF, 1.49mb) has been developed, as set out in the Campus Master Plan, to provide an overview of how waste is managed across all USC campuses and sites. Advanced guidelines are available in regards to disposal of hazardous waste.