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September 2, 2019 | by  | in News |
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Victoria Bottle Drive Raises Questions About University’s Sustainability

A recent bottle drive on campus has raised questions about waste production and management at Victoria University. The bottle drive was held on August 4, and was the product of a collaboration between the Anglican Chaplaincy and Plastic Diet, a plastic reduction club. 

Each clean bottle delivered to volunteers returned twenty cents to the person who had brought it. 

According to Chaplaincy and Plastic Diet organisers, the bottle drive demonstrated the viability of incentivising recycling. 

Over 1000 items were received, including one flat who had 240 bottles and received $48, according to Plastic Diet. 

Kate de Boer, secretary of Plastic Diet, described the bottle drive as a simple way to “start a conversation” about what is and isn’t recyclable. 

Jessie Black, associate chaplain, said, “This seems like an easy thing to put together [and] a good way to connect groups at campus.” 

Michael Turnbull, VUWSA Acting Welfare Vice President and convener of the Sustainability Committee, said, “We don’t want [bottle drives] to be a one-off thing that is done by clubs…[Waste reduction] needs to be tangible things that can be sustained over a long period of time.” 

The bottle drive is part of wider conversations about waste on campus. 

Plastic Diet has suspended its previous “waste watchers” events, where they washed dishes in the Hub so people didn’t buy food in non-sustainable packaging. 

However, it will provide the same service for club events.

As part of Sustainability Week 2019, Plastic Diet conducted a waste audit in the Hub on August 14, collecting all the rubbish between 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., then sorting and weighing it. 

Based on the results, Plastic Diet will conduct a “waste minimisation scheme” in the Hub on September 11. They will also be conducting another bottle drive, funded by the Sustainability Week budget, on September 13. 

Turnbull said that “there can be a lot of improvement on the current [waste] system and bottle drives are a good start.” 

VUWSA tries to reduce waste in general, but has no “tangible policy” around waste or carbon emissions.

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