Sustainability spotlight QBI

20 Oct 2017

QBI's Julia GroeningJulia Groening joined the Green Office program in 2013 and has played an important role in introducing several new initiatives to improve sustainability practices of staff in the Queensland Brain Institute.

Inspired by the motivational environmental communication approaches discussed at the first Green Office Update Session 2017, Julia has designed a poster series to advise her colleagues of the importance of using palm oil-free products.

The Update Session taught Green Office Reps how to encourage others to take part in conservation initiatives using positive and inspiring approaches.

Julia has ensured that the kitchens of QBI are stocked with dishwashing liquid free of palm oil, to reduce their contribution to the deforestation threatening orangutans’ habitats.

As a by-product of QBI’s research on bees’ brains, Julia made use of the large amount of wax in the beehives by making beautiful beeswax candles. She sold these candles to raise funds for Borneo Orangutan Survival.

 After reclaiming coloured paper from the bins, Julia made some upcycled notepads and enrichment toys for her study objects, budgerigars, who are kept entertained by nibbling these colourful paper ribbons.

Recycled paper enrichment toys for study budgerigars

After a conversation between staff over morning tea about the massive plastic waste caused by the popularity of single use coffee pods, QBI has initiated a coffee pod recycling system for Expressi and Nespresso coffee pods.

The pods are collected in large boxes and when full, are posted to TerraCycle.

Although plastic-free coffee options are preferred, such as plunger coffee, it is better that these coffee pods are recycled efficiently, rather than going to landfill.

Julia initiated the use of durable cutlery in the staff interaction area, making the switch from disposable plastic cutlery and saving the need for hundreds of pieces of plastic cutlery.

Julia’s poster series on encouraging recycling practices, the reduction of plastic use, and avoiding palm oil have brightened up the interactive spaces and helped to make QBI more sustainable.

Julia is moving on from UQ this month, after making countless innovative contributions to the Green Office Program over the past five years.

We would like to welcome Miriam Henze, QBI’s newest Green Office Rep, who joined the program in September and has already made her mark by introducing the collection of food waste in the kitchens of QBI to add to the Green Office composting program.