Better Recycling - Less Waste Your Sustainable Campus Initiative

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1 Better Recycling - Less Waste Your Sustainable Campus Initiative Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why change the way we manage waste? Why have individual desk bins been removed? What if I don t have time to take my waste and recycling to the bins? Can I keep my own bin? What will happen to the old individual desk bins? Can I have my own paper recycling box? Where are the recycling stations located? When will the new system be rolled out to my building? What arrangements can be made for staff with mobility issues? How often will the bins in the recycling stations get emptied? Will cleaners still clean around desks and work areas? What if the bins in the recycling stations get too full? What if people in my office don t take their rubbish and recycling to the bins? Can take away hot drink / coffee cups be recycled? Can I put paper in the yellow recycling bin? Can I put tissues and wet paper towels in the yellow recycling bin? Why are plastic bags not allowed in the mixed recycling? Can plastic bags be recycled? Can we recycle food waste? Can we recycle polystyrene and Styrofoam? How clean do recyclable containers need to be? Can I throw away batteries in the general waste? What happens to the waste and recycling collected? Where does it go? If your questions are not answered here or on the main recycling page, please direct additional questions to the CIS Sustainability team at

2 Why change the way we manage waste? The University is committed to implementing sustainable environmental practices across our campuses. Currently our general waste from the Camperdown/Darlington campus is transported to a centralised waste sorting facility where recyclable materials are separated from general waste by hand and by machine. However, the amount and quality of recyclables recovered from general waste is diminished because of contamination by food waste and plastic bags. By using dedicated recycling bins and the central waste collection system, the University plans to target recycling rates over 80%. Changing to central waste and recycling collection and removing individual desk bins will help save approximately 500,000 plastic bin liners every year! It will also encourage staff and students to separate their recyclables from waste, just like we do at home. Ultimately, this change will be better for our environment. Why have individual desk bins been removed? A waste investigation conducted on campus in 2014 showed that over 60% of the waste collected in offices bins comprised of recyclable material, including 16% paper that should have been placed in the dedicated the blue paper recycling bins. By removing individual desk bins, we avoid the temptation to throw everything into one bin, and we encourage our community of staff and students to separate their recyclables by providing recycling stations. Removing individual desk bins will also save an estimated 500,000 plastic bin liners a year which is a mountain of plastic. Many of our peer Universities have reported increases in their paper recycling rates once they have switched to central waste collection and removed individual desk bins. Central waste collection also improves efficiencies by reducing cleaning times and costs. What if I don t have time to take my waste and recycling to the bins? Taking your waste to the recycling stations can be easily incorporated into your everyday routine so it doesn t take up extra time. You can dispose of your recycling and garbage when you: Make your tea or coffee Place or collect your lunch from the fridge Have toilet/bathroom break Need to take a little break away from your work Leave the office at the end of the day; (Hey! also remember to switch off your compute to reduce our energy bills and carbon emissions!. Remember, at home we don t have bins next to our couch or dining table, so getting up to take our waste to a bin and separating your recycling is what most of us do at home anyway Give your eyes a rest and take an occasional a break from your desk, it s good for you. Healthy Sydney University and Safety Health and Wellbeing strongly support this initiative as it encourages staff and students to take necessary micro-breaks from their desk. Staff should take breaks from their desk every thirty minutes to reduce eye strain and muscle tension. Can I keep my own bin? Sorry, but no. All individual desk bins will need to be removed when the new system is rolled out in your building. You might like to take your own bin home with you before the new system is rolled out to your area. Advice on dates when the new recycling stations will be deployed will be sent out prior to the roll out so you can make the necessary arrangements. Individual bins that remain when the new system becomes operational will be removed. Any personal desk bins will no longer be serviced or cleaned and there will be no alternative system in place to ensure individual staff remember to

3 empty their bin each day. This is to ensure that our workplace remains clean, healthy and safe and to reduce the possibility of bins containing waste creating unpleasant odours and attracting pests like fruit flies and cockroaches. Can I have my own paper recycling box? Paper recycling floor boxes made of cardboard will be made available upon request for any work areas that aren t close to a blue paper recycling bin. Typically, these floor boxes can be used for individual desks or preferably shared among a few desks in open-plan work areas. Cleaners do not empty the paper recycling boxes so staff will need to empty these when full into the blue paper wheelie bins. To order one for your area, please lodge a request through Campus Assist. Where are the recycling stations located? The recycling stations will be located in all offices, kitchens, dining areas, teaching spaces, student common areas and learning hubs. They will also be located outside lecture theatres, tutorial rooms and labs. All faculties are consulted about the locations of the recycling stations before deployment to make sure they are in convenient locations. When will the new system be rolled out to my building? The new waste and recycling system will be rolled out progressively across all campuses from September 2015 onwards. Key dates will be confirmed by your building or faculty managers prior to implementation. What arrangements can be made for staff with mobility issues? We ask that you support your colleagues who may have mobility issues by: making sure the waste and recycling bins are placed in a location that is easy to access, with a clear path of travel for wheelchairs or other mobility devices (e.g. not on a bench-top or high shelf). Offering to take staff who are visually impaired on an office tour that includes a stop at the recycling station. Consult staff with disabilities on your team about where to place the recycling stations and/or get feedback on how the new recycling system is working for them. For additional information about meeting the needs of staff with disabilities please contact Staff Accessibility Support (Ph ) For Students, please contact the University s Disability Services. How often will the bins in the recycling stations get emptied? The red general waste bin and the yellow recycling bin will be emptied 1-2 times a day depending upon the volume of waste and recyclables produced. What if the bins in the recycling stations get too full? If the general waste or recycling bin in your office area is regularly getting too full please log a service request with Campus Assist by creating a Service Request and selecting Waste Removal as the problem type, or you can contact Facilities Management Services at CIS and we can work out the best solution for your area. Will cleaners still clean around desks and work areas? Cleaners will still continue to perform normal cleaning activities of all office areas including vacuuming. What if people don t take their rubbish and recycling to the bins? If you are finding that rubbish and recycling is frequently being left on desks and not taken to the bins please the CIS Sustainability team at: We can help organise some friendly reminders for staff and provide a quick waste and recycling talk at your next team meeting.

4 Can takeaway hot drink / coffee cups be recycled? Most take- away paper-based coffee cups can now be recycled in the yellow recycling bins around campus except for Styrofoam cups which need to be deposited in the red general waste bins. However, please do not put disposable cups in the blue paper recycling bin even if they have a cardboard or paper outer shell., They must be deposited go in the yellow recycling bin because most take away cups have a plastic lining to prevent coffee leaching. Plastic lids with the recycling symbol 1-8 can also be recycled in the mixed yellow recycling bin. Did you know that an estimated 1 million coffee cups go to landfill every minute? Help the environment by using a reusable mug or Keep cup. Some coffee shops around the campus give you a discount for bringing in your own mug. Can I put paper in the yellow recycling bin? All clean office paper and cardboard should go in the blue paper recycling wheelie bin, as this helps retain the value and quality of used paper. Clean office paper can be recycled up to 9 times over. Only paper and cardboard soiled by food or liquids (such as pizza boxes) should be deposited in the yellow bin because it will be recycled into lower grade paper products like toilet tissue. Can I put tissues and wet paper hand towels in the yellow recycling bin? Yes, wet paper hand towels and used tissues can be placed in the yellow recycling bin. Why are plastic bags not allowed in the mixed recycling? Recycling facilities do not like plastic bags because the first level of sorting is done by hand. Workers sort through tonnes of materials an hour and it is too time consuming to open bags to sort out recyclable materials. It can be dangerous as bags could contain dirty materials or medical equipment so plastic bags are rejected and dumped in landfill. Plastic bags can also get caught in the conveyor belts and jam spinning wheels which can grind the entire sorting plant to a halt. Do not wrap or place recyclable material in plastic bags. So please empty loose recyclable materials into the yellow recycling bin and place any plastic bags in the red general waste bin. Can plastic bags be recycled? Plastic bags can be recycled but not in the University s yellow recycling bins, they need to go to a specific plastic bag recycling facility. You can drop off plastic bags at specially marked recycling bins at the front of most supermarkets, click on link to find a recycling place near you Can we recycle food waste? Currently the University does not have an organic / food waste recycling contract. Food waste must be disposed of in the red general waste bins. Please place all empty recyclable food containers in the yellow recycling bin. Can we recycle polystyrene? Polystyrene foam must be disposed of in the red general waste bins. Polystyrene foam materials need to go to a specific polystyrene recycling facility. Find a polystyrene recycling facility near you. Help the environment by using alternative packaging that is easily recyclable like a reusable mug or Keep cup. How clean do recyclable containers need to be? A small amount of food left in the container is acceptable. Please empty any solid food scraps into the red general waste bin, pour out any liquids from bottles and cups and then put the recyclable containers into the yellow recycling bin..

5 Can I throw batteries in the red general waste bin? No, batteries contain toxic heavy metals and chemicals which can leach into the soil and groundwater at the landfill site. Please drop off old batteries at the battery recycling bins. Better still use rechargeable batteries. What happens to the waste and recycling collected? The University of Sydney uses a number of different resource recovery services to recycle as much as possible, including: Clean paper and cardboard goes to VISY Material Recovery Facility Mixed recyclables (including plastic bottles and containers, metal cans, glass) goes to SITA Electronic waste goes to Reverse E-waste Batteries and Hazardous waste goes to Tox Free

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