While HKUST is renowned for its research and academic acumen, many do not know about its efforts to be one of the greenest universities in Hong Kong. In the past year, HKUST has continued hard work to be an environmental champion, and have achieved much in this regard.
Among the environmental milestones for this year are several community-driven initiatives. The HKUST Green Team, a 100% student and staff-driven initiative, launched a Lunch Boxes Go Green Campaign, encouraging the community to bring reusable containers when buying takeaway food. A strong response saw more than 2,500 disposable boxes saved.
Aside from eating, drinking sustainably was also high on the agenda. In 2017, HKUST installed new water fountains with user-friendly features and offered free HKUST branded reusable water bottles for all freshmen. In addition, HKUST added three new drinking fountains with 14 more coming in early 2018. Key fountain locations will be brightened with new decorative features and signage. And that is not all – in the New Year HKUST is officially eliminating the sale of disposable (one-time use) plastic water bottles of less than one litre across all campus outlets.
Prevention of waste is a key, but for all else, recycling is the number one solution. Last year HKUST launched a food waste collection and recycling programme in all canteens, and added more than 75 new recycling bins on campus. Through a new partnership with their cleaning contractor, the process for separating recycling from waste is more efficient than ever. Yet the work cannot just stop there; HKUST has enhanced efforts to make offices more green through the launch of the HKUST Sustainability Network, comprising of members from nearly 30 offices and departments across the university.
Not all efforts are visible - Over the past year, the FMO replaced nearly 2,000 lights with high-efficiency LED lamps, reducing energy use by an estimated 160,000 kWh per year. That is equivalent to the consumption of 33 average Hong Kong households!
Looking forward, HKUST sees these efforts continuing in 2018, with both sustainability on campus and ground-breaking environmental research. Putting these efforts into place, HKUST is well on the way to achieving its 2020 sustainability challenge.