WRL Green Team
The WRL Green Team was formed in 2019, to participate in a UNSW pilot program - Green Impact @ UNSW - a competition where staff and students take action to make their office and residential spaces more sustainable. By taking part in UNSW’s Green Impact Challenge we were committed to making the UNSW Water Research Laboratory more sustainable; by promoting team awareness of sustainable work practices, we reduced our impact on the environment and limited wastage of many workplace resources.
The 2019 WRL Green Team led by Kristina Palmer and Grace Carlino had 20 members and won a Silver Award for the number and range of successful sustainability initiatives that were implemented within the WRL workplace during the Green Impact Challenge.
Since undertaking Green Impact, WRL’s recycling exploded. Thanks to the WRL Green Teams’ efforts WRL now has systems in place to recycle bread clips, bottle tops, soft & hard plastics, bottles, cans, paper & cardboard, batteries, used mobile phones and toner cartridge collection. The Green Team also created a closed loop for on-site food scrap recycling, where food waste is composted and used to feed our onsite herb garden.
In 2020 Green Impact was back, but had to be adapted due to COVID-19 restrictions which allowed points for more sustainable actions while at home.
The WRL Green Team again agreed to take part in the 2020 Green Impact Challenge and won a small green project grant from UNSW to grow ‘gourmet mushrooms from coffee waste’ at WRL for the wider WRL community. The project, led by Kristina Palmer and Tino Heimhuber (Grace Carlino has stepped in while Kristina is on maternity leave) is still in its infancy, but has proven to be extremely successful.
WRL is currently growing our very own mushrooms using cardboard and coffee grounds from our workplace coffee machine; in a truly self-sustaining and ongoing mushroom growing operation where all that is needed in terms of external input is mushroom spawn and a bit of straw.
Now that the mushrooms are ready to harvest, we have been selling them to the wider WRL community for a small price. The sale proceeds then go towards purchasing the materials that are required to keep it going - creating a perfect closed loop!