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UCC Library Green Energy: Recycling & Waste Management

Information on UCC Library's Green Energy Campaign.

Waste & Recycling Before

The campaign team in collaboration with ISS, the cleaning contractors for UCC, conducted an audit of waste collection in the Boole Library. This audit revealed that:

  • We had over 167 small bins across the Library, each with a plastic bag, that cleaning staff had to empty daily and sometimes a number of times a day.
  • We were using over 3,500 plastic bags per month and each of these bags was typically only 15% -20% full.
  • Each bin had a high level of contamination, so our recycling rate was in the low 5% -10% range and effectively zero during semester. One of the biggest sources of contamination was liquid from unfinished coffee cups.

                                              

 

Binless Offices and Centralised Waste Collection

Binless Office

  • Waste is no longer collected from staff desks
  • We removed all bins from the reading rooms.
  • New compost and recycling bins installed in the staff kitchen
  • Cleaning staff have more time for other cleaning activities

Centralised Waste Collection

  • New waste recycling stations installed on the ground floor of the Boole Library
  • All Library users, staff and students can separate their waste for recycling and dispose of it.

                  ​

Ditch the Disposables

In an effort to reduce the amount of waste generated in the Library, building users are 

  • Only permitted to bring in reusable travel mugs or cups into the Boole Library
  • Encouraged to use reusable water bottles which can be filled at the water fountains

       

Friendly Reminders

Digital signage is used throughout the building to inform and remind users about the Green Energy Campaign.

      digital sign

Friendly reminders are posted at entrance and exit points throughout the building  

     

Educating Everyone

We held information sessions and training days for staff and students to help them in the correct use of these new facilities.

  • The university's waste management contractor visited offices to talk to staff members about recycling
  • The cleaning services contractor trained staff on how to implement the new system
  • There were informal display and educational stands for students in the library foyer 

The Plastic Wave was created and built by artist and colleague, William Ruane, along with members of the Green Energy committee, using the bottles collected by cleaning staff over the course of about 8 days, early in 2018.

plastic bottles in shape of a wave

In support of the Sick of Plastic Campaign, run by Friends of the Earth, it helped to raise awareness of the ridiculous amount of single-use plastic we discard on a daily basis. 

  Up to 200 UCC students signed a Waste Reduction Bill to mark the national Sick of Plastic Day of Action on campus on 20 April. 

Library staff teamed up with UCC Green Campus to organise the bill-signing event ahead of the ‘shop and drop’ Plastic Day of Action which happened on Saturday 21 April and we gave out free coffee and tea on the day to anyone with a travel mug.

The wave was dismantled in September and all plastic bottles were recycled.