The biggest creators of waste at the University of Wollongong start their campaign to be good corporate citizens on Monday.
That’s when 10 UOW Pulse outlets will ditch their bag habit and officially say goodbye to plastic bags.
The move comes hot on the heels of supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths deciding to stop giving out single-use plastic bags throughout their Australian stores in the next 12 months.
But UOW Pulse CEO Alf Maccioni said he was surprised the university wasn’t already following this ‘’sustainable path’’.
‘’Saying we will go bag free ASAP wasn’t that difficult decision to make,’’ Mr Maccioni said.
‘’We are using 20,000 plastic bags a month. This is the least we should be doing as good corporate citizens,’’ Mr Maccioni said.
Saying we will go bag free ASAP wasn’t that difficult decision to make.- Alf Maccioni
Pulse owned campus outlets, including IGA, UniShop, UniBar, UniActive, Rush, Fuel and Boost will remove plastic bags from the registers from July 24.
‘’We are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously,’’ Mr Maccioni said.
‘’The Pulse team are proud that we are making a strong stand and removing the bags and we hope that the campus community will be too.’’
Trevor Fredericks, the IGA store manager at UOW said cardboard boxes will be provided free of charge as well as paper bags and reusable bags for a low cost.
He said customers who spend more than $10 in the store during the first plastic bag free week will receive a reusable bag free of charge.
‘’Since we opened in September we’ve gone through more than 15,000 plastic bags a month,’’ Mr Fredericks said.
‘’According to Clean Up Australia around 97 per cent of plastic bags end up in landfill or polluting the environment….I’m glad we are doing our bit to reduce the negative impact.’’
Mr Maccioni added Pulse will work with the other 20 outlets to introduce the initiative across campus over the coming months.
‘’We create the most waste at Wollongong uni. So I want to start to do the right thing and try to reduce that as much as we can,’’ he said.
That’s why a number of sustainability initiatives have already been put in place by Pulse.
Earlier this year an organic waste disposal unit was installed at UniBar. The machine, known fondly as “The Pulpmaster“, disposes of organic waste by grinding it into a fine pulp which is used to fuel the Sydney Water Sewage Plant in Cronulla.
Unibar has proactively worked to reduce food packaging and has introduced more sustainable alternatives to single use plastics such as cups and straws.
Since the implementation of these initiatives, UniBar has reduced the waste it sends to landfill by about 85 per cent.
‘’This is just the start. We need to do more.’’