Sustainability is one of the key challenges of our time, and we can all do our part to look after the environment. That's why the UCSA's been on a journey to reduce our environmental impact.

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Strategic goals_rotate



  • Haere-roa is heated with renewable energy in the form of a ground-source heat-pump system. These pumps draw stable, latent heat from the ground through the building.
  • The building has interior and exterior ‘Innowood’ cladding (a low VOC formaldehyde emission, recycled product).
  • Carpet tiles are made from recycled material, in no recognisable pattern allowing partial replacements without need for full replacement.
  • Haere-roa cleaners have switched to pro-biotic cleaning products.
  • 5,782 native plants were planted around Haere-roa between late-2019 and early-2020 in collaboration with the Christchurch City Council’s waterways partnership. This has helped improve the ecological health, indigenous biodiversity and the amenity value of our local urban waterways.
  • A respectful relationship to the landscape was formed by engagement with UC Mana Whenua Cultural Narrative. We incorporated ecological enhancements of native flora and fauna to ensure Haere-roa is a place where respect for water, land and people are acknowledged.
  • Recycling and waste stations are located around the building, and signage includes protocols for their use.

Montana Early Learning Centre:

  • Montana has solar panels installed, which improves their energy efficiency.

Food and beverage

  • Our UCSA outlets are phasing out plastic straws.
  • We offer financial incentives to BYO coffee cups and food containers at UCSA outlets. We've also teamed up with Again Again.
  • We've introduced compostable cutlery and packaging at UCSA eateries.
  • We supported UC to become recognised as one of two NZ Fair Trade Universities. We sit on the University’s Fair Trade Steering Committee. The accreditation requires that we stock Fair Trade products and provide regular reporting.
  • The UCSA's successfully diverted more than 35,000kg of waste from landfill in 2021 to date. This has increased our organisations average waste diverted from landfill to 74% (up from 39.6% in 2020).
  • The compost generated from our Edmonton Kitchen is used by local Canterbury farmers, replacing the need for synthetic fertilisers due to the high nutrient value of the compost. The carbon saving emission of this programme is approx. 5.28 tonne per month, or the equivalent of 13 cars being taken off the road.
  • Outlets 'Oishii' sushi, and 'Otto' pizza sell by the piece. Oishii’s menu was designed as ‘pick your own’ to eliminate the need for plastic packaging, while ‘Otto’ uses only compostable packaging.
  • We buy bakery products for school lunches from our next door neighbour.
  • We use an electric vehicle for catering deliveries.
  • We've purchased a forklift to compress waste in skips, reducing frequency of waste collections from three to one per week, reducing long-term carbon emissions and saving money.

Major entertainment events

  • We're working with Total Waste to sort our waste on site into its different streams.
  • We serve food and drinks in compostable, recyclable or reusable containers.
  • Our bars use cans or rented Globelets. The Globelets are borrowed and then sent back to be washed and reused at other events.
  • When serving water, we use either Globlets or drinking-fountain-style water trailers that do away with the need for cups.
  • We're working with UC Sustainability and Eco Volunteers along with other community groups to help educate event-goers on the day and keep the site clean and sorted.
  • We do a community clean up around the area to grab anything that students have dropped along the way.

Other initiatives

  • We've promoted bamboo toothbrushes at Wellness Days.
  • Electronic board papers are used for UCSA board meetings, reducing reliance on paper and fossil fuels used in delivery.
  • We operate a borrow-a-bike scheme in partnership with UC Sustainability, enabling students to use a more environmentally friendly mode of transport free of charge.

Last updated 16 July 2021