Sustainability & Waste Management

At the AAEE Biennial National Conference, we are dedicated to promoting sustainable practices in every aspect of our event. This page on our conference website will highlight some of the measures we have taken to ensure our event has a minimal impact on the environment.


We have encouraged attendees to bring their own lanyards, keep cups and water bottles to reduce waste. Have a funky lanyard leftover from a previous conference? Bring it along and make use of it! Bringing a keep cup will get you a discount on barista coffee at the Aspire Cafe!

Waste Management

The University of Wollongong has a waste management system in place. Learn more by following the links below!

Co-mingled recycling – yellow lid bin

Landfill – red lid bin

Food waste (only) – green bin

We are working with our caterers to minimise single use and disposable packaging, and maximise reusable servery and packaging as well as ensuring our order numbers are as accurate as possible to ensure there are minimal leftovers.

We are also exploring the possibility of engaging a local charity or food rescue organisation to make use of any leftover catering.

We are encouraging attendees to BYO keep cups, water bottles, lanyards, tote bags and notepads and we well be minimising paper and plastic-use at the event.

We have been so impressed by Aspire’s adaptability and willingness to embed different practices into their operations to help our event reduce wastage, and we wanted to share some of the amazing things they are doing on campus!

Wellness Wednesday is celebrated on campus and virtually every Wednesday through the Wellness by Pulse team. It exists to remind students of the significance of fostering health and wellbeing through a holistic approach. Activities include a weekly Wellness EDM which covers a range of health and wellbeing topics, a free Breaky Bar which is catered through ASPIRE offering free breakfast to students, free lunch time creative activities e.g painting, cookie decorating and beading, free hula hooping classes and live music through Lunch on the Lawn live acoustic artists.

Pulse Pantry has been established to:

  • Assist students facing hardship
  • Provide a last-minute meal to students
  • Continue supporting international students
  • Help support students’ wellbeing through reducing financial stress related to food and/or groceries

The pantry has a shopping style layout, with all stock available on shelves to ‘grab & go’. Working on a points-based system, UOW students will receive an allocation of points weekly in which they can use to claim items. Pulse Pantry is run by UOW Pulse staff, with the assistance of our Pulse Volunteers. These volunteers will be recognised for their contributions through UOWx hours.

Our plan for the left-over food items throughout the conference are:


  • Morning tea – Pulse Pantry
  • Lunch – Pulse Pantry
  • Afternoon tea – Breaky Bar (Wednesday morning)


  • Morning tea – Wellness Wednesday
  • Lunch – Pulse Pantry (Thursday)
    Afternoon tea – Pulse Pantry (Thursday)

Sustainable and Ethical Produce

We are actively working with our caterers to ensure produce is ethically and sustainability sourced.

Considerations include:

  • Supporting local and seasonal produce
  • Supporting local ethical and sustainable farmers
  • Minimising imported food
  • Free range or wild caught where applicable
  • Tea and coffee is ethically sourced e.g. B Corp Certified 
  • Processed meats are kept to a minimum
  • Ensuring wholegrain options are available
  • Including meat-free options throughout



While we can’t decide how our attendees travel to and around Wollongong, we have made some sustainable suggestions to consider on our ‘Getting Here’ page.

Our field trips are local to the area and will minimise bus use where possible. Bring your walking shoes!

University of Wollongong

The Environment Unit manages on-campus sustainability. The team works on reducing water, energy and emissions and improving the waste management of campus operations.

Tree Planting

A donation of $1,500 will pay for planting and caring for around 400 plants, all indigenous species, grown from local stock by our network of small nurseries, for revegetating local threatened ecological communities. Landcare Illawarra group members will prepare the ground, plant the seedlings and take care of them. The Landcare Illawarra committee will oversee species selection and distribution, making sure that the right species are selected to restore local threatened ecological communities, and documenting what plants are grown where to ensure overall ecological integrity.