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December 13, 2016

Good approach supports ‘green’ goals

Recycled eco office furniture – all made out of cardboard – is being used by the Compass Group team at Victoria University.

Compass Group’s Victoria University food services team has rolled out a number of green initiatives, as part of its commitment towards environmentally friendly, sustainable operations and best practice.

The Wellington-based team has collaborated with its client, Victoria University, to identify smart ways to: conserve energy and reduce water consumption; improve waste management; and increase the recycling and reusing of materials, among other initiatives.

“We provide food to about 1,900 students, three times a day across six halls – this creates a lot of washing up and cleaning, as well as some food waste,” says Compass Group Operations Manager Phil Russell.

“Over time, we’ve wanted to improve on this and are working to find ways to reduce and measure our environmental footprint.

“We introduced Ozone Taps two years ago, which convert H2O to H3O. This then acts as a natural ‘sanitiser’, leading to reduced use of chemicals and longer life for products that oxidise – like apples when cut or washed vegetables.”

Other initiatives include the introduction of ‘trayless’ dining, which has eliminated the use of approximately one tray per resident at each meal. This has seen a saving in water and chemicals as 12 trays would take up a cycle in the dishwasher, with close to 100 wash cycles three times a day.

Food waste management has also seen the team composting all food waste as well as any bio products that are able to be composted, as part of the university’s food waste programme through Kai for Compost. This is part of a broader waste management and recycling plan developed in partnership with Victoria University. The next step is to measure the waste produced by residents or waste from the plates, which will be recorded and measured from trimester one of 2017.

“Another neat thing has been some of our team using ‘eco furniture’ instead of the more traditional, plastic furniture. This is made up of recycled cardboard and can be customised to fit into small and ‘tricky’ spaces – it is surprisingly hardy and durable,” says Phil.

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