Eliminating single-use plastic: MCEC seeks st...
Eliminating single-use plastic

MCEC seeks students for sustainability initiative

Photo: MCEC

Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has joined forces with students from RMIT University in an effort to eliminate single-use plastics from their events and onsite cafes by 2025.

Using a circular economy approach, the RMIT students designed a closed-loop system and developed a proposal to replace MCEC's disposable coffee cups and drink cups with reusable and sustainable alternatives. As part of the RMIT Impact Academy programme, six students in multi-disciplinary teams, including degrees in Marketing, Economics, Finance and Information Systems, immersed themselves in the real-world task of tackling environmental challenges through a ten-week programme with MCEC's sustainability manager, Samantha Ferrier.
„It's important that the events industry is doing what we can to prevent waste.“
Samantha Ferrier, Sustainability Manager, MCEC
"Our team at MCEC was really excited to see the solutions that the students came up with, because eliminating unnecessary single-use plastic is something we've been working towards for some time. It's important that the events industry is doing what we can to prevent waste by redesigning the system and ensuring that materials are kept in use for as long as possible", she said.

Senior advisor, Sustainable Development RMIT University, Renzo Mori Jr said it is a mutually beneficial programme: "Student-industry partnership is crucial to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's). Such partnerships can put the knowledge learned in the classroom into complex real-world situations, which is critical to the innovative thinking needed to achieve the SDGs."

The next step is for MCEC to delve deeper into the recommendations, develop proof of concepts and conduct trials based on the proposed models.