The Challenge

UNSW was searching for a way to demonstrate their commitment to being one of Australia’s global universities by supporting actions which benefit the community. They were also interested in how to support their research of the advantages of monetising waste.

As part of their commitment to provide benefits to the community, UNSW elected to host a reverse vending machine on campus and provide access to the NSW container deposit scheme, Return and Earn to the wider community surrounding the university.

The Solution

Partnering to provide the community with access to Return and Earn was a mutual goal for TOMRA Cleanaway and UNSW. The ideal location within the university campus that enabled staff, students and the surrounding residents to the university access to the reverse vending machine was the key success factor to ensure enthusiastic participation at the site.

Of the partnership and hosting of the location, UNSW’s Manager Environmental Sustainability, Arifa Safraz says, “We have clear data to support that the UNSW machine is being used anywhere between 15-20% more than any other machine in the area. That gives us 100% report on how we claim benefits from the RVM. If it was used the same amount as other community-based machines, we would say only the community is using it, but because there is at least 20% more usage of our RVM, it shows its actually being used by our UNSW staff and students. 

The biggest benefit, personally, is it solidifies our commitment to providing the best possible services to our community on our campus – that is to me the key message. But last year, in July-August, we hosted an event in collaboration with TOMRA Cleanaway on our campus to engage with our community and understand how our community is noticing and how they are using it.

We were very happily surprised to hear from students, we surveyed and interviewed them – and many students informed us that they use the RVM on campus as a backup for coffee money – a lot of single use containers go through our residential colleges and students will put there cans and bottles away and smart students collect them and get a bit of extra cash. “

The Results

UNSW has successfully expanded their sustainability outcomes at the Kensington Campus by partnering with TOMRA Cleanaway and hosting a reverse vending machine.  

The Future

UNSW is part of a wider group of universities that delivers excellence and is pleased to have played a leadership role by demonstrating how to implement CDS on a university campus.  Due to this success other universities in Queensland and Victoria are interested in implementing RVMs on their campus as well.