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Canberra Waste Disposal

A new recycling and waste management system is currently being implemented in campus buildings. Buildings 8 and Scrivener have been completed with buildings 9, 20 and Student Central to be completed in 2013. The system aims to divert landfill to an ACT Materials Recycling Facility (MRF). Infrastructure will be rolled out in two phases, with additional buildings added each year;

Phase 1. Centralised infrastructure

Recycling and waste bins are placed in central locations throughout the building, typically in shared spaces including common rooms, kitchenettes and entry/exits. Bins are accompanied by signage and staff information is provided via information sessions or email communications depending on the preferences of the building occupants.

Phase 2. Desk side paper

Desk waste bins are REMOVED and replaced with desk side PAPER bins. These bins are to be emptied by staff in either the 240L paper bins in the building or the 60L paper bins co-located with the recycling and waste bins in select shared spaces.

This system is consistent with that deployed across government buildings and promotes active engagement of students and staff in personal waste management.

Office Supplies

Estate and Facilities Management and Financial and Business Services have developed a partnership with Canberra Office Supplies (COS) to refine our purchasing options and promote products that meet ‘Green Buy’ criteria. To meet the Green Buy classification, products must include 50 percent or greater recycled content and be free from harmful chemicals, such as PVC. If they do not meet the 50 per cent recycled content criteria, they must be at least 70 per cent recyclable. Food products are to be sourced within Australia or be certified Fair Trade.

Achieving economies and environmental performance

  • Product lines available to campus consumers were reduced from 800 to 200, allowing economies of scale to be achieved for remaining products;
  • The top 30 purchased items were substituted with Green Buy alternatives. These items were ‘hard substituted’ on the online purchasing system (COSNET) so that selections defaulted to the Green Buy alternative – (key products in this criteria included paper).
  • ‘Soft substitution’ – a prompt to choose an environmental alternative, was implemented on COSNET to provide purchasers with Green Buy alternatives where they are available.


The University moved from 80% recycled paper in 2010 to 100% recycled paper in 2011. The new paper exceeds the sustainability performance of the previous paper, both in terms of recycled content and in achieving Carbon Neutral production.


Estate and Facilities Management has developed a Furniture Catalogue that adopts environmental performance standards across all furniture ranges purchased centrally by the University. Standards applied include Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), Australian Furnishing Research and Development Institute (AFRDI), Green Tick, and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. All products meet strict third party audited criteria for environmental performance. The move demonstrates the University’s commitment to reducing the cradle to grave (production through to post use disposal) impact of its furniture purchases.


The first step in reducing waste is to question the need to purchase an item. Keep purchases to a minimum by sharing items such as staplers and scissors and rethinking the need for others. For example, do you need to purchase office calendars and diaries if there are online systems that provide this service adequately.


Surplus to need items such as furniture can be reused in other areas of campus. If you have such items or need furniture call ext 5100 to arrange pickup or to see what is available.


University office supplies are purchased through COSNET. When looking for supplies, check the GREEN BUY items first.


Internal building recycling infrastructure is being progressively implemented across campus, check What UC is Doing to find out which buildings have the system installed and which are next.

  • Food waste is not recyclable until organic recycling is available. Food waste goes in the RED bin.
  • Polystyrene cups are not recyclable on campus and go in the RED bin. While polystyrene itself is recyclable, it needs to be cleaned and separated from otherwaste. On campus we can only recycle polystyrene packaging, for example from computer deliveries. Special arrangements are made with Information Technology Management (ITM) to manage this bulk waste stream.
  • Plastic bottles, aluminium cans, glass and even aerosols are recyclable and go in the YELLOW bin. Newspaper, clean paper and cardboard packaging is recyclable and can go in the YELLOW bin or BLUE paper bin.
  • Metal is recycled on campus on one central location. If you have metal items, large or small call ext 5100 to arrange pick up.
  • Mobile phones, printer cartridges and batteries can be deposited for recycling in the specially provided bins in the refectory.

Reduce waste to landfill by*:
15% by end 2011 50% by end 2014
25% by end 2012 60% by end 2015
35% by end 2013

Achieve a green buy of#:
25% by end 2011 45% by end 2014
35% by end 2012 50% by end 2015
40% by end 2013

*Organic recycling would be required to achieve this target
#For the purposes of the Strategy products qualify as Green Buy if they include 50% or greater recycled content and are free from harmful chemicals. If they do not meet the 50% recycled content criteria they must be at least 70% recyclable. Food products are to be sourced within Australia or certified fair trade.

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