South Australian rye straws and University of Adelaide taking strides to a circular economy
30 November 2021.
The University of Adelaide's ‘Compostables on Campus’ campaign to tackle single-use plastics, increase organic recycling rates and promote a more circular campus was recognised as a joint winner at the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Awards. Organic waste from campus is repurposed into landscape products by their service providers, Jefferies and Pete's Soils, and is returned as soil and mulch to help improve the campus landscape.
As part of the campaign, food and beverage retailers at the University’s three campuses switched their packaging to compostable options during Semester 1 2021 through changes to lease conditions. The campaign resulted in a 59% increase of organic recycling compared to the same time in 2020. During this time, the University avoided sending 27.7 tonnes of waste to landfill, equal to 44.32 tonnes of carbon. Creative intervention was adopted to communicate the campaign messages to staff and students in new ways.
“The Compostables on Campus campaign leverages sustainable change across leasing and procurement, facilities management, resource recovery partners and staff and student behaviour for a more circular campus.”
Director Strategic Portfolio Management
Mister RYE is the first rye drinking straw to contribute to the circular economy, and won accolades for a circular economy start-up at the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Awards this month. Working with organic certified South Australian farmers, Mister RYE uses the by-product of the cereal rye crops to replace plastic straws. Founder Marion Vigot is a French entrepreneur who moved to Australia 3.5 years ago to focus on sustainability and positively influence the future of packaging. Since its development, Mister RYE has diverted 60,000 single use plastic straws from landfill and the environment.
As a byproduct of the grain production that grows only with natural rainfall, these innovative rye straws do not require any additional energy to produce, and provide additional employment to the rural SA farming families. All products are processed by hand and can be returned to the soil after use, allowing for minimal carbon footprint and for new resources to grow again in regenerated soil.
“There is no limit to what you can do with composting”