Semester of sustainability: Partnering with JCU in its War on Waste

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May 2, 2019

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Cleanaway recently collaborated with James Cook University’s (JCU) TropEco team for an audit of the campus’ commingled recycling stream in Townsville.

Led by Territory Sales Managers David Mccarron and Daniel McCall, the team spent two days gathering insights on how JCU could improve their recycling to meet targets set in their War on Waste campaign.

How does a waste audit work?

22 bags of recycling and 29 bags of general waste were collected from bins around the campus. They were brought to a designated area, emptied and sorted into nearly 20 buckets all labeled with different waste streams such as paper, plastic, cans, bottles and cardboard. The buckets were then weighed, and results recorded in a spreadsheet.

What did we discover?

At the end of the audit, the team discovered three main insights:

  • 10% of the general waste bin was recyclable material
  • 40% of the recycling bin consisted of cardboard material, making the case for a dedicated cardboard recycling bin
  • Large amounts of beverage containers found in the recycling bin could potentially be diverted to the in-campus container return scheme

According to JCU TropEco’s Environment Manager Adam Connell, the waste audit was an effective way to get everyone involved in the sustainability process.

“I am confident that JCU are on track to hit sustainability goals and even exceed them this year. With the release of the waste audit data, we can see which waste streams need tweaking. This will potentially increase our efficiency, save us management costs while increasing our diversion rates.”

Plans for the future

JCU’s in-campus container return scheme is currently in its early stages. Educating students to return bottles and cans through the scheme will be the focus in the coming months.

Cleanaway will continue to support JCU with education programs and waste audits to ensure proper disposal habits, decrease recycling contamination and increase sustainability rates.

Cleanaway’s David Mccarron said, “We will be working very closely with JCU to ensure we have the right waste stream in the right areas. We are already working with staff and students on what can and can’t go in the bins and we look forward to supporting JCU to meet and exceed its sustainability targets.”

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