Photo Credit: Stellenbosch University

In an effort to bring waste consciousness front of mind, Stellenbosch University put ‘waste towers’ on display to showcase the power of eco-action!


Stellenbosch, South Africa (24 April, 2024)—Earth Day has come and gone, but the impact our choices can make on the planet are a lifelong thing. And as soon as we realise the answer isn’t being afraid, but taking eco-action, great green things can happen!

Showcasing just how must waste two days on campus can produce (and how much eco-action matters), Stellenbosch University put two waste installations on display in an effort to raise awareness and waste consciousness during Earth Month.

The ‘waste towers’ on the Rooiplein saw 3000 kgs of waste collected and sorted by the University’s centralised Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). This is around 30 bales of waste. What of the eco-action? Well, 28% reportedly end up being recycled, 46% are composted and only 26% head to landfills—a striking difference from a time when recycling and composting were abstract terms.

Accompanying the waste towers were little signs to prompt action. “What do you leave behind?” and “Does all this waste make you uncomfortable?” were just two messages that gave students and staff a lot to think about in terms of their own efforts.

The good news, beyond rallying awareness, as the university notes, is that thanks to the MRF, more than 1000 tonnes of waste were sorted away from landfills last year, as well as 10.4 tonnes of e-waste. To make life easier for students to get in on the action, three-bin sorting systems are available on all campuses, while other eco-conscious practices focused on water security and carbon-emission reductions have also been introduced to get to net zero. A recent win was being awarded the City of Cape Town’s 5-star and 3-star ratings of the Tygerberg and Bellville campuses’ efforts towards effective water management, alongside the Green Building Council of South Africa certifying 18 buildings on the Stellies campus.

All of these efforts, including the waste conscious towers, play a part in putting not merely eco-fear, but the efficacy of eco-action front of mind. And it’s vital that educational institutions—who pride themselves on shaping the next generations of leaders—spearhead the charge.

But, the individual has their own role to play and their own ‘waste tower’ to introspect on.

Sources: Stellenbosch University 
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Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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