Sustainable solutions saving landfill for reptile

31 May 2023

A new initiative from CQUniversity’s Facilities Management Directorate is delivering the University with some snappy ways to better improve waste management practices at its Rockhampton campuses and student residences.

In 2022 alone, approximately 2.4 tonnes of waste from CQUniversity’s catering facilities were saved from landfill by a waste collection initiative that sent food scraps and leftovers to be used as compost and food for crocodiles.

Ron Tollasepp, Director of Facilities Management, said something had to be done to better facilitate the management of waste to see a reduction in negative emissions and unnecessary landfill dumping, which is how the partnerships with the local farms including the Koorana Crocodile Farm were established.

“The Student Residence kitchen process a large volume of chickens for meals, leaving chicken carcasses that can’t be used for anything else.

“When this type of waste is typically thrown into general waste this only contributes to landfill but also to negative emissions during the decomposition process,” Mr Tollasepp said.

“As a university we are very conscious about reducing our footprint and improving our sustainability, something which staff and students are also passionate about from an individual perspective.

“With this in mind, the Facilities Management team and Sustainability Officer came together to brainstorm ways to better manage organic waste matter, and one of the ideas was to supply this type of waste to farms who could reuse waste product as part of their production cycle.

“We reached out to Koorana Crocodile Farm to discuss the possibility of a circular economy project where the chicken carcasses would be collected weekly and used as a consistent food supply for the crcodiles at the farm.

“Since this project began in 2022, approximately 8,000 chicken carcasses have been diverted from landfill and a lot of crocs have enjoyed a chicken treat.”

As a result, more waste collection initiatives have been installed, with organic vegetable scraps being supplied to High Valley Dawn’s permaculture farm where it is used for animal feed and compost.

“Our Sustainability Officer worked with the student residence kitchen and on-campus food vendors to really get a good understanding of the volume of waste generated each day and used this information to implement a future plan for the ongoing processing of this wasted resource,” said Mr Tollasepp.

“Through this initiative we’ve been able to greatly reduce C02 emissions, apply proactive action towards sustainability, and promote activities and more relationships that support circular economy outcomes, which are imperative for a more sustainable future.”

CQUniversity’s Facilities Management Directorate will continue this work into 2023 with a view to implement even more sustainable practices across the University and engage other organisations around the Rockhampton region and across the campus footprint.