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Jobs for the boys in UCOL’s green initiative

Jobs for the boys in UCOL’s green initiative

UCOL’s Palmerston North campus is spearheading a new recycling initiative that is also contributing to the community.

UCOL has begun providing large green recycling bins for paper and cardboard throughout their Palmerston North classrooms and offices. In partnership with the Paper for Trees scheme, this waste paper will translate into native trees.

The Paper for Trees scheme is run by the award-winning Environmental Education for Resource Sustainability Environmental Trust, who will provide UCOL with one native plant for every nine of the green bins it fills.

Local photocopying business, Ricoh, has sponsored the cost of the green bins. Manager Jason Flynn says the scheme also provides environmental benefits for his business, because they will gain carbon credits towards their goal of becoming carbon neutral.

A further benefit is that the paper collection provides an opportunity for Hamish Major from the Freyberg Special Needs Unit and Bruce Third from the Options for Living group to work around the campus each week collecting the paper.

Jo Hopkirk, Acting Manager of Student Support Services, says Hamish and Bruce both love the role with UCOL, and are recognised around campus in their bright reflective vests and special name badges.

“They feel really special when they’re here. Bruce has become a familiar face around UCOL - he knows just what has to be done. This is their special job. Having the Options helpers doing the paper collection has given a whole new dimension to our environment here at UCOL”.

Manawatu paper recycling company Fullcircle is also involved in the scheme. After Hamish and Bruce have collected the paper from each room, Fullcircle have offered to pick it up from UCOL at no cost. Jo says the support from Fullcircle and Ricoh has allowed the scheme to go ahead.

She says the scheme has been well received by staff members who are very supportive of the concept. “Now we’re hoping to expand the idea out to our other campuses.” She says after starting off as a simple idea, it has grown. ”More and more people and outside organisations want to get on board.”

Jo says another potential spin off benefit is that the Cancer Society has approached UCOL about donating the trees to them. . They will use them to provide shade trees for schools.

She says UCOL is doing its best to work towards the ideal of becoming carbon neutral, as part of its community and environmental responsibility. “What I would like to see eventually is for all our material to be created digitally, handled digitally and stored digitally, reducing the need for so much paper as a resource.”


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