We have also connected our waste minimisation drive to our research and teaching activities. Marketing students create campaigns to encourage recycling and sustainable flatting. Psychology students research the impact of behaviour change initiatives. We launched the Food Waste Technical and Social Innovations Research Group in October 2020, which includes the launch of an Upcycled Food Lab at the beginning of 2021 to work with industry partners like Citizen Collective to turn bread waste into craft beer.
In sum, all these efforts combined have dramatically reduced the waste we send to landfill from our Dunedin campus, with benefits into the wider student community and industry. Not only did we achieve our target of halving our waste to landfill by 2021, we smashed it: dropping 70% from 5,019 tonnes to 1,518 tonnes in 2020.
Regular waste audits continue to identify opportunities for more reduction that cover all of R’s (rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle, rot), and we are currently negotiating new Key Performance Indicators with Waste Management NZ to keep dramatically driving down waste.