Our group goal: Reducing contamination of organic waste in UTS public space bins to just 2-5% through education.
This will require a shift in our key stakeholders, the tutor’s and student’s, habits and perceptions of waste and we aim to achieve this through a long-term 4 step education plan that starts small but grows as interest builds and changes become more readily accepted throughout the university. We decided on designing an education plan because it is very important that the positive waste practices spread further than just UTS. We want tutors and students to start thinking about better waste management in their homes, workplaces, sporting clubs etc. and only through education will we achieve this.
Drawing from our own immensely positive learning experiences over the short period doing this Wealth from Waste subject, students and tutors becoming more aware of the waste system at UTS and their place within that system will be able to take a step up from their current waste practices. Those who had no knowledge around their waste should start to take notice and care in how they dispose of their waste and those people who sometimes use the correct bins should become people who want to always act in the most sustainable way.
Step 1 The Ambassador – appointing an ambassador who will be the driving force behind the waste education plan. UTS:Green and Seb Crawford, Sustainability Coordinator, are very keen to push for green, sustainable implementations such as this one.
Step 2 Staff Education Day – before the educators can teach students how to correctly manage their waste they need to care and be confident in their own knowledge, for this to happen the tutors need to be made aware of the waste system. They will learn the general organic waste facts, the UTS waste system and their role within it, hear talks from other UTS staff members with experience and knowledge of waste and go on a virtual tour of the UTS organic waste system.
Step 3- Putting Waste into Student Assignments – with the tutors made aware of the importance of waste management they can begin to alter student assignments to include better waste practices and understanding. Altering assignments undertaken by students during the first semester of the first year is critical to ensure each new group of students coming through the university starts with good knowledge of positive waste practices. Assignments can be tweaked just slightly to include some emphasis on waste. Examples of small changes to existing assignments include: the composting of old natural textiles for the fashion school subject Thinking Fashion; rubbish bin way finding in public arenas for IPD’s Inside Design subject; and the collection of waste to be used in the Ways of Seeing subject’s poster design for both UTS:Insearch Design Diploma and Visual Communication students.
Step 4- Ongoing Education and Promotion – the designs and data created by students in these altered assignments can be used as further educational materials on future staff education days and around the university campus to keep the positive waste management message fresh and help ensure the continual interest in creating a greener, more sustainable UTS.
The roll out of this plan is ongoing and will be revisited every year through the tutors teaching the students classes with waste-centred assignments and continual staff education days overseen by the championing organisation UTS:Green.
By Caitlin, James, Yan, Laura