Reduce environmental footprint

Unitec aims to work towards strategic water and carbon reduction targets, with particular focus on energy, waste, sustainable travel and low carbon technologies.

Unitec is partnering with external stakeholders to further embed sustainable resource management principles, strategies and skills in our teaching programmes. 

Unitec is also guided by Te Noho Kotahitanga principles and recognising our collective responsibility for the future of Unitec and the wellbeing of our communities.   

Unitec has three key sustainability objectives in this area: 

  1. Partnering to ensure Infrastructure Operations and Asset Management Plans directly contribute to meeting Unitec’s One Planet water and carbon reduction (energy, waste and sustainable travel) targets. 
  2. Partnering to further embed sustainable resource management principles, strategies and skills in our teaching programmes
  3. Actively seeking and partnering in projects that demonstrate low carbon technologies and renewable energies on our two campuses

Milestones achieved

In 2020 a 22% carbon footprint reduction was achieved due to dramatically reducing the physical footprint of the Unitec Mt Albert campus. 

One Planet Projects  

The Sustainability and wellbeing Team contributes to Unitec’s takitahi by working in partnership with students and staff, internal and external stakeholders to help reduce Unitec’s environmental footprint.  

Sustainability showcase: Ugly Mug Cup Library

The cup library next to Unitec’s Long Black café has a revolving collection of cups and mugs so staff and students can enjoy a sustainable coffee option. For coffee without the waste, café customers can simply grab a mug from the Cup Library before placing their order.

Return used cups to a side counter for washing. The Ugly Mug Cup Library project is run by members of the Sustainability Club and supported by the Sustainability and Wellbeing team. 

Sustainability showcase: Steps towards more sustainable sushi  

Sushi with less waste  

We all love to eat fresh sushi, but we don’t love all the one-use plastic items it generates. Sushi containers and the like can be recycled, but ultimately, recycling is an imperfect and energy-intensive process. It’s so much better, for us and our world, when we can avoid using plastic in the first place. 

When asked, Unitec staff and students agree they want to be able to make better choices. One positive change that was made in 2021 was at the Mt Albert campus sushi shop Nuri & Maru. 

The sushi shop was already encouraging the use of plates by providing free miso soup in bowls, but Nuri & Maru store manager Anna Chang wanted to do more to reduce plastic waste and offer more choices for our customers. Changes included: 

  • the introduction of a sushi cabinet with pick and mix sushi, as allowing customers to choose their own combination of sushi helps reduce food waste.  
  • the introduction of plates reducing the use of single-use plastic trays  
  • for Unitec staff, there is the extra option of bringing a reusable container for use in the store or taking plates away to return after use 
  • signage explaining and encouraging the use of plates   

Past waste audit and other reduction initiatives 

Add link  Students turn ‘straw into gold’ with BuildNZ exhibit  Original images to be sourced 

Add link  Upcycled market day Image file included  

If the goal of carbon neutrality is an issue you are passionate about and would like to see action taken on in 2022, please be in touch. 

Email the Sustainability and Wellbeing team directly at  

Find out more here.

 Get involved 
To get in touch with the team, please email