Environmental sustainability remains a top priority at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Find out how you can make a difference to fulfilling our commitment to becoming a green campus.
Recycling in colours
The colour-coded bin system has been in place for about a decade and helps to keep our campuses clean. The two most important colours are:
Green – recyclables: glass, paper, plastic, cardboard and tin
Yellow – non-recyclables: dirty food containers, cigarette butts, polystyrene, etc
Other colours that are used in operations/administration are:
Blue – left-over food from the kitchens that is recycled into agri-protein
White – office paper
Slow the flow
Water resources are under severe threat globally, and South Africa is no exception. UCT’s ongoing mission is to reduce its water consumption, and you can help us achieve our goal. Reduce the amount of water you use on campus – whether that means a two-minute shower or reporting leaks to the Properties and Services team.
A living laboratory
Many UCT courses use participatory, project-based training around campus sustainability, which allows students and academics to use campus as a living laboratory. If you find yourself working on a UCT research project with a sustainability focus that may have an application on campus, contact Manfred Braune, the director of environmental sustainability, to find out if it could become a living lab project.
The 400-seat New Lecture Theatre and the UCT Graduate School of Business Conference Centre were designed and built as green buildings, achieving a four-star green rating from the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA).
Avenue Road Residence is the country’s first university student residence to be awarded a Green Star rating from the GBCSA (4-star rating).
The Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking (d-school) is currently under construction on middle campus and is targeting a 6-star rating.
The School of Education, which is under construction on lower campus, achieved a 4-star green building certification from the GBCSA.
6 simple tips for sustainable living
1. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Re-use whatever you can whenever you can — Google has a million ideas!
2. Burn calories, not petrol
Take a walk, lace up your running shoes, get your hands on a skateboard, borrow a bicycle – anything to avoid being a single driver in a car. If you must, arrange a carpool or use public transport whenever you need to get around. Remember, the UCT Shuttle is freely available for students and staff, and uses low-emissions buses (check out the UCT Shuttle route maps).
3. Save energy
Eskom still relies on coal-fired power stations, which emit carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, cause major air pollution and contribute to climate change. The less energy you use, the lower your carbon footprint. So, turn off lights in empty rooms and unplug appliances when they’re not being used (even when they’re turned off, a lot of devices still draw electricity).
4. Grow green
With rapid urbanisation and global deforestation, there are simply fewer plants around to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. So grow a garden wherever you are, even if it’s just a pot of herbs on your windowsill, or plant or sponsor a tree.
5. Drink from the tap
Bottled water is not necessarily better than the water from the tap, especially in Cape Town, which was awarded a 98% score in the Blue Drop Drinking Water Quality certification process. The city’s tap water is clean, cheap and sidesteps the environmental harm caused by the extraction of spring water and all those single-use plastic bottles.
6. Ditch the plastics
We all know that plastics harm the environment when they end up in landfills or in the ocean, but the damage actually starts during the manufacturing process, which releases pollutants into the atmosphere. Single-use plastic products (think straws, ear buds, product packaging) are a particularly big problem, so avoid them wherever possible.
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