I believe our sustainable planning varies according to the location and demographics. For instance, renewable resources preferred in Western Australia is Solar, but the suitable sustainable way of generating and sourcing energy in Tasmania is Hydroelectric power. So, according to our inputs, we model and build our sustainable environments. Victoria, proudly known as the Educational State of Australia, hosts around 490K students, including domestic and 40% international students. The universities are spread across various suburbs of the Melbourne Metropolitan area covering all four directions except few campuses within the CBD region. Naturally, around 400k students are based in the University suburbs. The average demographic age in these suburbs is 23 years old. The average distance between 2 Universities is about 11kms, which makes the Suburbs more educated and diverse, which gives us enough space and resources to facilitate precise waste treatment individually. We throw the waste into respective allocated bins and think we are helping the recycling process. But four bins given by the local council does not solve all the problem.
Further, every six months, new students move in, and many students move within the suburbs. As an international student, I have observed that we tend to shop the immediate requirements such as new laundry baskets, containers for the kitchen, heaters, etc., without thinking twice when we move in. The average study duration for students is estimated to be two years. Whenever we carry out or change the place, the suburban streets are left with much-unwanted plastic and other wastes because students think the products are cheap and long-distance movement of these small home products is a burden. Embodied energy and CO2 footprint of these small products in the manufacturing and recycling phase are ten times higher than the transportation and use phase.
After careful observation and analysis, I have taken one step of not hurrying about shopping for a new home and reducing possible waste thrown out when I leave. Instead, I have taken the initiative of buying only food essentials in the initial 45-50 days, such as a recyclable bag, collecting cardboard from online orders. Once I complete my 45 days stay in Victoria, I accumulate a pasta jar, ice cream box, and so on to replace buying new things. My next step is to highlight this blind waste to fellow Victorian students by sharing our Victoria home tips during Orientation and University activities as essentials. My following action is to create a universal hub for all Victorian Uni students to plan separation of waste into even more specific categories, such as submitting weekly soft plastics to nearby Coles or Woolworths situated in 2.5kms radius of each suburb. Followed by promoting water-saving Faucets in kitchen stinks, bathroom tap, and gardens around the house and campuses, collecting electronic waste from the respective suburbs, and reallocating between University and local council for the University research training for both students and researchers and finally composting. As most of the suburbs facilitate a share house experience for most students, I have planned to compost our regular food and green waste to grow desired plants. Forming Victorian students hub during our stay will surely influence the Victorian environment.