ECU to phase out single-use plastics

Edith Cowan University (ECU) will begin phasing out single-use plastic water bottles and straws across all of its campuses from the start of semester two.

It follows initiatives on the east coast from the Universities of Canberra, Melbourne, Sunshine Coast and Monash University.

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ECU said it believes it is the first Western Australian University to limit the use of plastic water bottles on campus.

The phase out will be done as part of a staged approach to restrict single-use plastic water bottles. Beginning with around 40 events it holds on its campuses, ECU will instead provide water refill stations.

The university is also investigating solutions including an increase to the number of water fountains on campus, offering free or discounted multi-use water bottles on campus and discussing with commercial tenants for alternatives to single-use bottles.

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman said it was a big step forward for the University.

“With around 30,000 students and 1800 staff, we can make a huge difference by taking this first step to limit single-use plastic water bottles at our campus events,” Professor Chapman said.

“It’s also financially responsible. More than 90 per cent of the cost of bottled water can be traced back to the bottle, lid and label.

“This is not a ban. This is about education and providing alternatives. By offering high quality, convenient options to students, staff and visitors, we are confident we can reduce the demand for single-use plastic water bottles on our campuses.

Worldwide events planned for first ever Global Recycling Day

The world’s first Global Recycling Day will take place on 18 March, with cities across the globe signing on to hold events.

London, Washington DC, Sao Paolo, Paris, Johannesburg, Delhi, and Dubai will host events to encourage people to change their habits when it comes to recycling.

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The Bureau for International Recycling (BIR) hopes to change the way people around the world think about recycling, changing their mindset from waste to resource.

Individuals attending the events will be invited to pledge to change their habits in at least one way and to sign the BIR’s petition for the day to be recognised by the United Nations.

The hashtag #GlobalRecyclingDay will let people on social media get involved to help people share video and pictures of them celebrating recycling.

Global Recycling Day aims to showcase how critical recycling is to people’s day to day lives.

BIR President Ranjit Baxi said the first global recycling day is a vitally important new date in the global calendar and a joint responsibility for individuals, communities, businesses and leaders.

“To truly harness the power of recycling we must adopt a global approach to its collection, processing and use, and this Day recognises the global nature of the industry and the issue.  It is time we put the planet first and all commit to spend 10 more minutes a day ensuring that materials are disposed of properly,” Mr Baxi said.

“Global Recycling Day is also a wakeup call to all of us, wherever we live,” he said.

“We must unite with those involved in the industry – from workers on waste mountains to the world’s largest businesses – to help them to make the best use of what we dispose of, to make recycling easier, inherent even in the design of products, and to stop expecting countries to simply accept recyclables which are difficult and costly to process.”