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 have phased out plastic straws.
  • We offer financial incentives to BYO coffee cups.
  • 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.
  • In 2021, the UCSA diverted a total of 71,782kg of waste from landfill. Our average waste diverted from landfill increased from 39.6% to 70.44%.
  • 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 around campus.
  • 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.


  • UCSA masks given out in O-Bags to reduce the use of single use masks
  • UCSA Recycling Day:
    • Worked alongside UC Sustainability, Christchurch City Council, , EcoCentral, Habitat for Humanity, Metal Man and Total Waste.
    • We used the event as an education opportunity for students.
    • It provided an opportunity for students to recycle.
    • One goal of the event was to prevent fly tipping on local streets.

Major events

  • We're working with Total Waste Solutions to sort our waste on site into its different streams.
  • We serve food and drinks in compostable, recyclable or reusable containers.
  • When serving water, we use drinking-fountain-style water trailers that do away with the need for cups.
  • 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.