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Roles & opportunities for zero waste in the future of University education, research & sustainable campus management

By Jonathon Hannon & Atiq Zaman


The zero waste movement around the world demonstrates a positive track-record in commercial, municipal and community spheres, of cost effectively addressing waste issues and supporting the innovation required to transition towards a circular economy and sustainable development. Scientific literature and numerous case studies demonstrate that zero waste approaches are framed in a continuum of learning and evolution and can be successful, scientific, measurable, a good economic investment, socially and culturally beneficial and democratically popular. However, it is also recognised that these positive indicators, are just the precursor of the level of transformational leadership and innovation, which is required in future across spheres such as: policy, programme, technology, education, research and product design, in order to realise the full future opportunity zero waste. A small cluster of universities/organisations inhabitant by keen ‘zero-wasters’ are seeking to catalyse a nexus for international zero waste academic collaboration (NIZAC) to support zero waste education and research and the translation of this into practice. A key strand in the discussion and experience informing the development of the NZIAC, is the opportunity of ‘living labs’ research theory and practice to support the co-creation of innovation in a ‘university and host city—community’ context. The presenters of this session will provide an overview of: relevant research theory, the experience of NIZAC partners, an illustration of some project outcomes [i.e. the C3 (Curtin Cuts the Cups) and the Palmy - Plastic Pollution Challenge (PPC)] and then seek to engage with attendees around future strategy and next steps.



7:00PM–8:30PM  04/11/20


The transformation to a zero waste world is about more than recapturing resources in a circular economy, it’s a gateway to a new way of thinking about resources, relationships, community, connectedness and nature. This session will explore the roles different parts of society have in creating change towards zero waste, and look at some of the most significant challenges and opportunities that exist for those working in the zero waste sector today. 


Jonathon Hannon

Zero Waste Academy / Massey University 

Jonathon Hannon is the coordinator of the Zero Waste Academy (ZWA), based at Massey University in New Zealand.  This role involves teaching, research supervision, industry / community consultation and advisory around campus and city sustainability. A recent project outcome of the ZWA, which is reported as a case study in relation to the ‘Nexus for International Zero Waste Academic Collaboration (NIZAC) initiative, is the Plastic Pollution Challenge (PPC). This is a collaborative, community engaged, citizen science project involving:  Massey staff and students, Rangitāne o Manawatū, Environment Network Manawatū, NIWA, Palmerston North City Council, Horizons Regional Council, Landcare Trust, local schools, businesses and a range of other participants. Structured as ‘living lab’ initiative, the PPC project is pioneering an innovative new way to learn about and address the negative impact of plastic pollution on local waterways and ultimately the global oceans. Jonathon is currently undertaking a PhD (part time) exploring and evaluating municipal zero waste methodologies.


Atiq Zaman

Curtin University, Australia

Dr Atiq Zaman is a Lecturer at the Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, School of Design and the Built Environment, Curtin University, Australia. He has more than eight years of research experiences in sustainable waste management and sustainability assessment. Dr Zaman is an active advocate for zero waste philosophy, activities, and practices. Recently, he has published the book “Zero-Waste: Reconsidering Waste Management for the Future” with Routledge.  

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