Helpful sustainability tips

We've put together some handy sustainability tips, you can explore these by clicking on the headings below. Also, there are useful websites and free resources below.


  • Start a veggie or herb garden at home, and a compost or worm farm.
  • Get free vegetables by planting the seeds from your groceries, such as pumpkin.
  • Re-grow vegetables from the supermarket such as spring onions and leeks by putting the ends in some water to re-root, and planting them in the ground.
  • Build your own greenhouse by putting a snap-lock bag over your planter pot.
  • Plant stuff for bees and birds to feed on all year.
  • Check out Go Eco for workshops and tips.

CO2 enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil. Gases trap heat which makes the planet hotter. We encourage staff and students to rideshare, use public forms of transport, and take advantage of our video-conferencing facilities wherever possible. University of Waikato students get a 30% discount on all bus fares when they get a BUSIT card.


  • Buy local
  • Support the Hamilton Farmers' Market
  • Eat less meat
  • Carpool or ride your bike to work
  • Turn off the power (even standby)
  • Turn off lights when not in the room
  • Insulate your house
  • Use draft stoppers
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs

A Building Management System (BMS) controls 70% of our buildings' energy and lighting. 95% of lecture theatres are on timers for air conditioning and lighting. We have 72 photovoltaic cells on the Student Centre.


  • Energy is still used by appliances and electronics when they are turned off but still plugged in to a power outlet. You could save $100 a year by turning all your devices off at the wall (except for the fridge of course!)
  • Turn the lights off when you’re not in the room – that’s about 10% of your electricity bill.
  • Enable energy saving on computers and printers.

In 2012, copier paper was reduced 29% and toners 17% by going to online purchasing.


  • Print double-sided – if you have to print lecture slides, go to 8 slides per page and in black and white.
  • Reduce the margins and font size.
  • Type lecture notes instead of writing them on paper – saves time and paper and makes it easier to edit and study later.
  • Opt out of paper billing, and pay your bills online.
  • Put a 'no junk mail' sticker on your letterbox.

We have installed 100 indoor recycling stations on campus, and there are glass, cans, plastics 1&2 and paper recycling trays in every office and lecture theatre at the University. If you haven't got one, please contact FMD porters.


  • Visit the Eco Emporium (opposite WSU) for second-hand goods and learning new skills on up-cycling.
  • Repair or make your own clothes, or other items like bags and draft stoppers, at the Eco Emporium.
  • Get your bike repaired, or buy, or rent a cheap bike from Re-Cycle (formerly Bikes on Campus).
  • Use a stainless steel straw (sold at the Eco Emporium).
  • Avoid single use plastics.
  • Compost or worm farm.
  • Bring your own re-usable coffee mug and get 50 cents off your hot drink on campus.
  • Bring your own reusable bag for shopping. 22 million plastic bags go to landfill each week in New Zealand.

We have joined Hamilton City Council’s water saving programme, Smart Water. We plant species that need less water and we recycle water in the Student Centre for the toilets.


  • The average single flush loo uses 11 litres for a full flush. A house with 3 people, flushes about 15 times a day - that's over 60,000 litres a year. A modern dual flush toilet can reduce the amount of water by half.
  • If you run a big hot bath, it will cost you $1.54 a time, more than triple the 40c cost of a five-minute shower.
  • Ditch the plastic water bottles and bring your own reusable one. There are 100 fresh drinking fountains all over campus.
  • Report dripping taps, running toilets or urinals.

Get Involved

Sign up to the Greenbites Newsletter and workshops and events: email: [email protected]

Quirky short videos

Check out some of our P.O.W (Prevent our Waste) sustainability films.