Make your next lunch break waste-free
Avoid single-use waste at lunchtimes by picking up one of the reusable plates, bowls or mugs at Union House.
The Choose to Reuse Plate Program is a reusable dish service offered at Union House, Parkville campus, that allows you to purchase food and drink from your favourite food retailers without the disposable packaging.
How to use the service
- Pick up a reusable bowl, plate, mug or cutlery set from a pick up point.
- Present it to your food retailer to serve your meal in. You can also ask your food retailer for a reusable dish when you order—most retailers have either bowls, plates or mugs in stock as well as cutlery.
- Purchase and enjoy your waste-free meal or drink.
- Drop off your dirty dishes at a drop off point, located at all dual recycling and landfill bins in Union House. Don’t forget to scrape your plate of leftover food into the clear food organics trays, if available. Strictly only food can go into these trays, all other rubbish must go into the red landfill bins provided. Visit food organics for more information on the organic waste stream .
- Your dishes will be collected and washed by our cleaning team at the Dish Wash Hub, ready for your next meal.
By requesting a reusable dish from your food retailer you are helping the university to reduce waste to landfill to 20kg per person by 2020.
Reducing waste to landfill
Did you know that in Australia we throw away approximately 1.9 million tonnes of packaging every year?
The University of Melbourne aims to be a leader in sustainable practice and stop our waste problem at the source. By offering a reusable alternative, the Choose to Reuse Plate Program bypasses the need to use and then dispose of single-use packaging in the first instance.
This is guided by the university’s target of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill to 20kg per person by 2020, as outlined in the Sustainability Plan 2017–2020. Waste sent to landfill in 2019 was measured at 27kg per person, but by choosing to reuse, you can help the university to reduce this and meet our target.
Why choose to reuse?
Every plastic take-away container you’ve ever used still exists. Imagine how many more you could prevent adding to that number if you never used another, starting today.
The Choose to Reuse Plate Program makes it easier than ever to avoid single-use waste when purchasing food and drink on campus. By simply choosing a reusable bowl over a plastic container, you are reducing your individual waste.
- No need to carry around your own container
- No need to wash your own dishes
- No contribution to waste
- You can even take your dish away from Union House and return it on your next visit.
We kindly ask anyone choosing to reuse to return their dishes. The continual operation of this service relies on the goodwill of our students and staff.
Success so far
While a reusable plate service has been available at Union House for several years, the service in its current form was launched in July 2019. Since then, we have seen a huge increase in the use of reusable dishes at Union House, which has followed in a decrease of collected waste to landfill.
The number of reusable in-house items used by Union House customers across semester two increased from 18 066 in 2018 to 202 389 in 2019. In the same time period, landfill waste collected in Union House reduced from 70.39 to 52.24 Tonnes.
On top of this, we have improved the overall dining experience at Union House, replacing cheap disposable containers with quality ceramic dishware. While we are very proud of this success, we are continually looking at ways to enhance and extend this service.
You asked, we delivered
The university has listened to feedback from staff and students about reducing the availability of single-use items and taking bolder steps towards a waste-free campus. This feedback has been instrumental in driving the delivery of the Choose to Reuse Plate Program, so we thank the university community for their suggestions and passion.
If you have any feedback or suggestions for how we could improve the Choose to Reuse Plate Program, don’t hesitate to contact the Sustainability Team at email@example.com
This service is delivered to you by Sustainability (Campus Services), Space Management, Union House Management and the wider Campus Services Team at the University of Melbourne.