The University of Western Australia is committed to developing new programs and improving existing ones to make its activities more cost-effective and environmentally efficient.

Our work in sustainability


This displays the University's annual data for energy, carbon, water and waste.


Carbon (from energy use)


Waste and recycling

Sustainability initiatives

The University is committed to global sustainability. We are a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and continue to make advances in sustainability-related teaching and research. Our sustainability initiatives cover a wide range of areas, including campus planning, energy, water, waste and more. This commitment to sustainability is embedded in our design and construction standards.


Campus Management's water efficiency projects are aimed at reducing total water consumption on campus.

To help achieve the University's goal of reducing water use by 20% per staff and student by 2020 from 2008 levels, Campus Management has carried out the following projects.

Our projects

Reuse of rainwater and wastewater from process water plants

Water tanks have been installed on campus to capture rainwater and wastewater from the process water plants. The water captured contributes to the irrigation of the University's glasshouses as well as reused for cooling of research equipment. Annually 400KL of water is saved by reusing this wastewater.

Water conservation

Water is a vital resource, and its conservation and efficient use by consumers will reduce water wastage and production costs.

Energy is used to extract the water, to treat it, to pump it to the customer and then remove, treat and dispose of the wastewater. By reducing the demand for both water and wastewater, Water Corporation provision costs are also reduced.

In April 2016, the University was recognised for its water conservation efforts when it received an award as part of the Water Corporation’s Water Efficiency Management Plan program.

The award recognises the efforts made by UWA in achieving an improvement in water efficiency of 10 per cent or greater during the 2014-15 financial year.

In 2015, the University achieved a 10 per cent saving in total water use (or a 5 per cent saving in water use per equivalent full-time staff and student) from 2014 levels. This equates to approximately 28 000kL or $60 000 in savings.

Sustainability research

UWA researchers are working to create a more sustainable future worldwide. With topics spanning climate change, food security, healthy ecosystems, sustainable cities and more, the University's researchers are tackling some of the most urgent global challenges. Read more about sustainability research at UWA.

Sustainability tips for staff


Energy conservation

There are a lot of misconceptions about reducing energy consumption, including the misconception that using power-management practices on computers can have detrimental effects on the machines.

This belief is not at all true. With that knowledge, all staff should adhere to this list of energy management initiatives in an effort to manage greenhouse emissions. As a community we recognise a responsibility to reduce our energy footprint. It is simple to conserve energy in the office or lab and every time you switch off, you contribute directly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The following tips will assist UWA in our efforts to conserve energy:

  • Use natural light wherever possible. Switch lights off whenever you leave the room.
  • Encourage colleagues to switch off lights in common areas such as meeting rooms, kitchens and well-lit stair wells. During after hours and holiday periods ensure lights are switched off.
  • Designate a staff member/s (the people that are usually last to leave) to switch off lights after hours.
  • If you notice automatic lighting controls are switching lights on after hours, or if there are faulty lamps or fittings, submit an online service request.
Office equipment
  • Switch off all printers and photocopiers at night. Avoid having individual printers in the office and instead use shared multi-function devices. This saves you money on consumables as well.
  • For office equipment such as printers, multi-function devices, faxes and computers, Energy Star can be used to find out about the energy efficiency of various products.
  • For computers and monitors, Energy Rating Labels can be used to compare energy efficiency of various products.
  • Select the most energy-efficient equipment when purchasing office equipment and ensure energy saving features are activated.
Be sure to shut down your computer every evening. Switching off your monitor will also save unnecessary standby power.

Ensure that your IT staff have enabled your computer's power-saving functions so that:

  • the monitor turns off after 15 minutes
  • the hard disk turns off after 20 minutes
  • system goes into standby after 30 minutes
  • the screensaver is not used; they do not save energy.
Heating, cooling and ventilation

If you have manual air-conditioning controls or split systems, ensure the last person to leave the work space switches them off.

  • Keep doors and windows closed when heating or cooling.
  • Individual heaters or fans must not be used in areas that are air-conditioned.
  • Individual heaters and fans must be switched off after hours.

  • Shut the sash on fume hoods – the average fume hood uses 3.5 times the energy of a house in a year. Keeping the sash closed when you’re not using the hood can reduce energy use by 30-60 per cent.
  • Use energy efficient equipment – look for the most efficient option available when replacing lab equipment.
  • For common appliances like refrigerators, get the highest energy rating for the size that you require.
  • Wait until you have full loads to run equipment such as glass washers and autoclaves.
  • Turn off non-essential lab equipment when not in use.


Conservation in laboratories

You can easily reduce water consumption in your lab by:

  • collecting laboratory water for reuse
  • installing efficient distillation, reverse osmosis or deionisation units that suit the needs of the laboratory
  • turning off all water using equipment when not in use
  • using recycled tap water to cool stills and
  • reducing the use of Venturi vacuum pumps on taps by using portable vacuum pumps.
General conservation tips

  • If you turn the tap off while soaping your hands for 15 seconds, you save over 1.5L water
  • Report any dripping taps, leaking equipment or running cisterns to online service request. A single leaking tap wastes 182,500L per annum
  • Turn off urns when they are not required for long periods of time, such as over the weekend
  • Use half-flushes in toilets when possible
  • Turn off air conditioners when not in use
  • Try alternative room-cooling techniques to reduce the use of air conditioners
  • Use the dishwasher only when it is full and on the shortest cycle possible

Waste and recycling

Approximately 90 per cent of UWA's office waste is recyclable. This recycling rate can be achieved with the help of staff and students.

Yellow-lidded wheelie bins accept common recyclables. Check the label.
How to recycle on campus
  • Place your common recyclables in the yellow-lidded wheelie bins across the campus.
  • Recycled materials can save up to 99% of water use and 50% of energy use in production.
What is recyclable in your office and the campus recycling bins?

UWA office recycling is co-mingled - meaning all recyclable items are placed in the same recycling bin, without the need for sorting.




Aluminium and steel
cans and aerosols

Glass bottles and jars
(empty, light rinse)

Plastics - labelled 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
(empty, light rinse)




(no silver-lined UHT)

Paper, newspapers and magazines

(flatten boxes)

Materials NOT acceptable for recycling bins include:
  • food waste
  • tea bags
  • plastic bags
  • plastic food wrap
  • plastics not marked with a recycling symbol
    (numbers 1 - 7)
  • laminated paper
  • ceramics
  • pyrex, window glass, heat-proof glass
  • chemical containers
  • batteries 
  • electronic waste 
  • toner and printer cartridges 
  • disposable gloves
  • hazardous, chemical or biological waste (dispose according to waste-management policy)
Other recyclables

To arrange recycling of these items, submit an online service request.



UWA is committed to ensuring that all goods and services it purchases are manufactured and delivered in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, delivering long term value for money.

What you can do
Buy sustainable appliances

You can ensure that appliances purchased are sustainable by choosing products with a higher energy rating. The energy rating system is easy to use as it is mandatory for a range of products including fridges, dishwashers, televisions and computers.

Dishwashers also have a mandatory Water Efficiency Rating. The University recommends that appliances purchased achieve a 4-star rating for both energy and water where applicable. 

You should also consider the entire life-cycle of the product. Was the product made locally, reducing fuel consumption in transport? How will the product be disposed of? Does the supplier have a product buy-back policy where it can be recycled? UWA has a dedicated electronic waste recycling system.

Finally, if buying printers and photocopiers ensure that they have the capacity to duplex print. 

Reduce consumption

Reducing consumption is the most sustainable action if it is feasible. Ask yourself prior to buying:

  • Do I really need it?
  • Can I borrow or share it?
  • Can I rent or lease it?
  • Can I buy it secondhand?
Consider financial and budget implications of the sustainable procurement decision, together with total value for money before committing University funds.

    Buy 100% recycled paper

    GreenWrap Pure 100 Carbon Neutral

    Producing one tonne of recycled paper saves:

    • 31,780L of water
    • 4100kw hours of electricity
    • 75% of chlorinated bleach
    • 27kg of air pollutants
    • 13 – 24 trees
    • 4 cubic metres of landfill
    • 2.5 barrels of oil

    Fuji Xerox is the preferred supplier for copy paper at UWA and recycled paper is available at almost no difference in price from less sustainable alternatives.

    The company's high-quality 100% Recycled, FSC accredited, Carbon Neutral Green Wrap Recycled Pure copy paper is available in A4 and A3 sizes.

    For the online ordering procedure visit the Strategic Procurement website.

    Other sustainable stationery

    Staples EarthSaver products include toner cartridges, writing pads, post-it notes, envelopes, general stationery and janitorial paper products. The EarthSaver range are products that:

    • contain a specific percentage of recycled materials in the original manufacture
    • are manufactured using environmentally friendly practices and procedures
    • do not harm or denigrate the environment while in use
    • when they reach the end of their life, are specifically environmentally friendly (biodegradable).

Sustainable transport strategies

A move away from single-occupant vehicles is important for sustainability and the ability of the campus to grow. There is a general emphasis on moving toward reducing trip generation and encouraging students and staff to live locally to reduce their car dependence.

Additionally, as a Strategic Specialised Centre, the University is well placed to capitalise on high-volume transport initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint resulting from travel-related emissions.

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