Are you finished with your toothbrush? We want it!

Is your toothbrush looking worse for wear? Your toothpaste tube squeezed empty?

Before you go to bin your oral waste products, stop and think of your Griffith University library. Why on earth for, you ask? Well, we’ve partnered with Terracycle to recycle oral care product packaging.

We have special recycling bins at all our campus libraries for you to deposit oral care waste. You can drop off toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrush and toothpaste tube outer packaging and floss containers.

We do ask however, that you remove excess product from your items before you place them in the recycling bins.

TerraCycle recycles the vast majority of the waste that we collect. According to their website, ‘the tubes and brushes are separated by composition, shredded and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products’.

Just think. Your humble little toothbrush could be melted down to become a brand new product. It could become a bench, a picnic table, or even a playground.

Okay, so maybe it would take more than one toothbrush…

Tackle your food-waste with these simple recipes

In September, our library held Lightning Talks on sustainability.

One of our presenters, Dr Kathy Knox, spoke about her work on tackling the food waste issue (listen here, at 18 minutes in).

This campaign, Waste Not Want Not, was delivered by Social Marketing at Griffith. It included collaborating with PhD candidate Jeawon Kim and professional chefs to create ‘recipe cards’. These recipes incorporate food items that are often left over and discarded, and therefore provide a practical way to reduce food waste.

If you’re a uni student on a budget, you’ll definitely want to check ’em out. Time to get savvy with your groceries – we reckon they sound soooo much better than bulk mi-goreng!

Lightning Talks: Sustainability solutions explored

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At the beginning of this month we held Lightning Talks on Adapt or Die: the truth about Climate Change and Waste Wars as part of Sustainability Week.

So what are Lightning Talks?

Lightning Talks are similar to TED Talks, in that speakers (our academics) are given a limited time (10 minutes) to give voice to a topical issue. The difference? Instead of watching online, you’re invited to join in the conversation and share your opinions too.

If you attended, we’re sure you loved the events! If not, you totally missed out! Never fear though, we’ll catch you up on what went down.

Adapt or Die: the truth about climate change

  • Prof Cordia Chu AM spoke about the need to future-proof ourselves against Climate Change by acting now to find solutions. Society must adapt and work in partnership, and complex scientific research needs to be adapted in order to find useful and useable solutions that are, most importantly, used. 
  • Dr Wade Hadwen spoke about water scarcity, highlighting the need to address this issue now – as the problem is only going to get worse.
  • Prof Catherine Pickering talked about how we can use native plants to offset the impact of climate change. You can download the groNATIVE app to help select the best native plants for your needs, and search plants by biodiversity, your garden style of plant characteristics.
  • Dr Leah Barclay introduced us to EcoAcoustics – the sounds of waterways, which enable us to gauge environmental changes over time by sound. She has been using underwater microphones to map the sounds of fish and aquatic insects. From this, people can put microphones under water and identify the sounds, therefore animals, in the water.

Waste Wars

  • Assoc Prof Frederic Leusch opened the discussion with statistics of how single-use plastics are contributing to waste, and some graphic images of how they harm and kill animals in the ocean. Plastic bags, straws and countless other rubbish items are among what we dump into the ocean and local waterways. He provided us with practical actions to take to help with our problem with plastic waste – say no to straws, avoid buying bottled water, bring your own coffee cup, plus much more!
  • Assoc Prof Matthew Burke spoke about how transport infrastructure affects sustainability. Currently in Brisbane, we’re investing our money on projects to widen roads to add capacity for more cars. Instead, we should be focusing on developing our public transport infrastructure. We also need to push programs to encourage walking, cycling and active transport.
  • Dr Eleni Kalantidou spoke about our love of material things – buying stuff, shopping. Western society spends and purchases too readily. We need to change the way we perceive things by being more responsible about our purchase decisions – we have a responsibility every time we buy something we know we’re going to discard quickly.
  • Dr Kathy Knox and her team worked with the community of Redlands to tackle the food waste issue. After surveying the community about the kind of food they had in their household, they invited professional chefs to create recipes which would incorporate food items that are often left over and discarded, showing the Redlands community practical ways to reduce food waste. They held live cooking demonstrations of these recipes in the Stockland shopping centre and distributed recipe cards to the community.
  • Clare Poppi spoke about how modern jewellery is often inexpensive costume items serving little purpose, and therefore can be a waste. Clare creates one of a kind pieces which incorporate nature into the design, are sustainable and easily degradable. She brought along samples of her work for us.

Want to hear more? You can watch both lightning talks online on our Facebook page:

What’s your ecological footprint?

Did you know you can measure your ecological footprint? Simply complete WWF’s ecological footprint calculator.

It’s super quick and easy, and kind of depressing too.

Apparently I need four and a half planet Earths to support my lifestyle (if everyone in the world lived the same way I do). And I have solar panels, so I thought I was already doing good! Apparently not.

Luckily, besides giving me a pretty shoddy score, WWF also linked me to me some tips to help reduce my big fat footprint:

  • Everyone knows that you don’t make friends with salad, but apparently reducing meat consumption massively reduces your ecological footprint. That’s because it takes waaaay more land to produce meat than it does to produce grain. Oh, and fun fact: cows fart a lot—not good for CO2 emissions.
  • Reduce your waste. Take a look at just how much waste you produce, even just over the course of a day. Can you cut some of that back?
  • Cut back on your vehicle usage. Can you take public transport somewhere, carpool or ride your bike?

Earth Overshoot Day refers to the date when our needs for the Earth’s resources in a given year overshoot what the Earth can actually provide in that year. Currently, it’s 1 August 2018. Yep, this year. That’s pretty scary. By reducing our ecological footprint, we’re helping move that date back.

If you’re after some inspo, check out the steps people around the world are doing to #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day. Griffith’s committed to sustainability too, and you can read about what Griffith University is doing here.

What’s you ecological footprint and are you doing anything to reduce it? Let us know in the comments!

And the winners of our TerraCycling competition are…

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Earlier this year, we partnered with TerraCycle to recycle oral care product packaging. Since then, staff and students have been diligently disposing of their oral care waste in our recycling bins (you’ll find them at all our campus libraries).

However, we decided to amp things up a little for Sustainability Week (last week), and ran a TerraCycling competition, getting students to paint with toothbrushes.

You probably saw the painting stalls set up in our library foyers, or may have even admired our students’ toothbrush art hanging on our walls.

However, now Sustainability Week is over, and all artwork has been completed and admired, it’s time to announce the winners!

A winning artwork has been selected from each campus, with each winner getting a $20 pre-paid VISA.

  • Gold Coast: Chaira Bosio
  • Logan: Estelle Alfred
  • Mount Gravatt: Ngarijan Rosser-Bonner
  • Nathan: Semini Hettigoda
  • South Bank: Clare Shortt

Check out our gallery to view the winning paintings!

It’s Sustainability Week!

Photo of a woman on a bicycle

Sustainability: ‘Living life to the fullest without compromising future generations’ ability to do so’ (

How many times as a young, brilliant (yeah we said it, you’re welcome) uni student have you heard that you ‘are the future’. Your grandma says it with pride and politicians may occasionally say it with terror, but they are both correct!

As people of the future, we have the ability now to ensure that future is a good one. This is where sustainability comes in.

Griffith is committed to sustainable practices. You may have noticed our worm farms, the bright yellow recycling bins (surprisingly easy to trip over…just me? Okay), and of course Nathan’s EcoCentre.

Monday 28 August until Friday 1 September is Griffith’s week-long ode to sustainability. Locals would call it Sustainability Week.

There are activities happening at every campus, including discounted refills if you bring your own reusable cup (so much cuter than a boring old styrofoam one), TerraCycling painting stations in all libraries, and e-waste collection points where you can get rid of any old Nokia phones that just. won’t. die. It’s a great way to dispose of a scarily durable piece of tech in an eco-friendly way.

Interested? Excited? Want to know more? Yeah you do. Check out all the activities and events coming to a campus near you.

Paint for TerraCycling and win a share of $100

As you walk into our campus libraries this week, you’ll see some colourful painting stations set up.

Starting this morning, Monday 28 August, until this Friday 1 September, our libraries are running a painting competition to raise awareness of TerraCycling and celebrate Sustainability Week

Though our painting stations do have a bit of a twist…

Simply mosey over to one of our painting stations (they’re located in the foyer of all our libraries), and one of our friendly staff will help you choose an A3 design to paint… with a toothbrush (yes, a toothbrush! Sounds fun, right?).

Not only do you get to take a respite from the busyness of Week 9 of trimester with a bit of mindful painting relaxation, but you could score yourself some cash, too!  A winning artwork will be selected from each campus, with each winner getting a $20 pre-paid VISA.

All painting supplies are environmentally friendly, and your finished artwork will be displayed around the TerraCycle painting stations.

Though, while you’re enjoying yourself painting, don’t forget to come back with your oral waste. You’ll find TerraCycling bins at all campus libraries, where you can drop off toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrush and toothpaste tube outer packaging and floss containers.

If you’re keen to learn more about recycling and sustainability, check out our science databases.

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