A number of students moving into University of Auckland accommodation have expressed discontent with the lack of composting facilities available.
At Carlaw Park Student Village, student apartments are equipped with two recycling bins as well as a general waste bin. However, no composting or food waste disposal facilities are available. When students queried this on the community’s Facebook group, a staff member offered to take residents’ food scraps home to their personal composting bin. However, with Carlaw being home to almost 700 residents, this solution may not prove effective permanently.
Jenny*, a second year commerce student and Carlaw Park Student Village resident, believes more should be done to promote sustainability in university accommodation. “I think we should have composting because there’s a lot of food waste, and for the top university in New Zealand it’s kind of shocking that they wouldn’t have something like that for us to use,” says Jenny. “They’ve got all the other recycling options for bottles, cans and paper and a general rubbish bin but they don’t have a place for food scraps, and I think it would be quite easy to implement that.”
Mark*, an exchange student staying at Carlaw Park Student Village this year, agrees that composting facilities should be available for residents. “I think that it’s a missed opportunity, because I think the university does a great job in a lot of the other recycling components,” Mark says. “But without composting, there isn’t a really place to put our food scraps or any other compostable material, and I think that could be another way to cover all the bases and reduce the environmental impact of all the students who live here.”
The University of Auckland is currently ranked 1st in the Times Higher Education University Impact Ratings. These ratings assess how effectively tertiary institutions are meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Despite this fact, only three accomodation halls are part of the university’s Food Waste Diversion Scheme. The university launched this scheme in 2016, however at present it operates at just one other location outside of the accommodation halls.
Outside of these four locations, food waste collection is not yet available. According to the university website, it is expected that the Food Waste Diversion Scheme will be extended to cover more sites in the future. For the residents of Carlaw Park Student Village, hopes are that more sustainable food disposal options will be available soon.
*Names changed to protect students’ identities