UNSW Sydney Working Towards a Plastic-Free Campus

a student from UNSW Sydney drinking water from a water station

UNSW Sydney is working towards becoming a plastic free campus. They are implementing strategies for reducing packaging and prioritising reuse over single use. This is done by improving facilities and increased engagement with the University community.

As part of the effort to promote the use of refillable water bottles, the university installed twenty Aquafil FlexiFountain 2100BF Drinking Fountain & water bottle refilling stations on the main Kensington campus and an additional four units installed at smaller campuses. All these water bubblers are located near walkways, cycle routes, food courts, and main venues so the entire community can take full advantage of this service.

a student from UNSW Sydney smiling and standing next to a Aquafil Drinking Fountain
New Aquafil Drinking Fountains were installed around the campus of UNSW Sydney

Typically, public bubblers are not designed to enable refilling of bottles and it is difficult to refill water bottles in toilet hand-basins which is what we found when we first started our search for outdoor drinking water station back in 2013.

However, the CIVIQ units feature a tap and spout that have been designed to make it easy for people to refill water bottles. The drinking water fountains are vandalism resistant, hygienic, and accessible to wheelchair users and children. They have also been fitted with a water meter that allows UNSW to estimate the number of plastic water bottles that have been removed from the waste stream in future reports.

These products are designed to make it easy for people to refill water bottles even while still sitting on a bicycle. Last but not least, the unique CIVIQ design makes it prominent and easy to spot from a distance and the flat panels can be used as an effective billboard”

-Arifa Sarfraz
Manager, Environmental Sustainability
Estate Management

Installing the CIVIQ drinking water stations greatly helped UNSW meet their general well-being targets as “the water refill posts are good for the environment, your body and your pocket”. They highly encourage the REUSE strategy and advise other universities to join the effort whether it is water bottles or coffee cups, food containers or grocery bags; promoting reuse is the only way for facilities as such to reduce single-use plastics.

A drinking water fountain along with wayfinding signage in UNSW Sydney Dalton Building
Drinking water fountains were installed around Dalton Building in UNSW Sydney Campus
Bicycle security
Drinking water stations
Outdoor showers
Wayfinding signage
Notice board & poster displays
Storage locker solutions
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