The University is committed to implementing and promoting waste minimisation practices and behaviour among staff, students and the wider community.
Our waste minimisation and management plan provides a basis for good practice and environmental responsibility, and aims to better manage waste being produced on campus and to significantly reduce the proportion of waste sent to landfill.
For all recycling questions please go to Recycling FAQ
We recently purchased an industrial composter, which processes organic waste into usable compost within a few weeks – the first unit of its kind in New Zealand.
The OSCA Bite Size 200 can process up to 100kg of mixed organic waste per day, reducing the University’s waste to landfill, as well as decreasing greenhouse gases. OSCA will take most the food waste generated by the halls' kitchen, and also coffee grounds from the Village Green and used paper towels.
In-vessel organic diversion system
Funding from Waikato Regional Council and Hamilton City Council to develop an in-vessel organic diversion system resulted in the development of a prototype by two Waikato engineering students. The prototype is now being used for research.
Ratty the recycler
Waste Educator Ratty the Recycler, (also known as Rore Kiore) is a plasticine mascot designed by FASS student, Amy Ninnes. A competition was held for students to create an engaging logo or figure, in our effort to educate and raise awareness on environmental issues.
Faculty of Worms
On campus, we have an industrial-sized worm farm, colloquially known as the 'Faculty of Worms'. This system can contend with 3 tonnes of paper and food waste per annum. After 4 months, the decomposed matter is put on the University gardens as a rich fertiliser. Other initiatives to reduce organic waste include, the placement of smaller worm farms and compost bins around campus.
Getting creative with our recycling bins
As part of their coursework, CMS Graphic Design students created the funky art on our 32 indoor recycling stations. If your faculty or division wants further bins or recycling set up, including office paper trays, please contact Rachael Goddard.
Waste audits (weighing and categorising of waste) occur annually on campus in our efforts to reduce the waste we send to landfill. Recent audits have shown that just 5 indoor recycling stations diverted 12-15 bags of recyclables in a week.
In 2018, we recycled 56 tonnes of glass, 46 tonnes of paper and cardboard, 20 tonnes of metal and steel, and 1.6 tonnes of lights and fluorescent tubes.
Our recent Village Green waste audit illustrated that 62kg's of waste was produced in just one day. 22% of the rubbish was cans, glass and plastics which should have been placed in the recycling stations nearby.
The Waste Problem
- The World Bank lists New Zealand as the tenth most wasteful country in the world.
- New Zealander's produce around 734kg of waste a year, that's around 3.5 million tonnes a year to landfill.
- Approximately 200 million polystyrene trays go to landfill each year in New Zealand (based on 1 tray per person per week)
- We discard 22 million plastic bags each week
- We manage to divert approximately 64% of waste from Landfills in Waikato
- University of Waikato pays in excess of $150,000 annually to dispose of waste
- Approximately 25% of what the University puts in landfill is recyclable paper
- Waste Audits have shown that almost 70% of waste to landfill from the University could be recycled.