At Questacon, we believe that knowledge and understanding of science, innovation and technology is critical to a sustainable future.
Each year, we communicate directly and indirectly with millions of people through our hands-on experiences, national programs, networks, partnerships and website. By inspiring people to take an interest in science and technology, we can promote a better understanding of environmental issues. Who knows – maybe we can even inspire the next generation of innovators who will contribute to global sustainability and a better future for everyone.
Our day-to-day operations affect the environment – we use energy and water, and generate rubbish. By managing these properly, we comply with legal obligations. But, more importantly, we are playing our part in reducing pollution and contributing to a safer, cleaner and healthier environment.
To achieve its environmental objectives, Questacon:
- promotes environmental awareness nationally by delivering inspirational experiences, exhibitions, programs, partnerships and other science, innovation and technology engagement activities
- endeavours to minimise waste, increase energy efficiency, mitigate environmental risks and do all things reasonably achievable to prevent pollution and protect the environment
- encourages staff and visitors to embrace and contribute to Questacon’s environmental initiatives
- works closely with all stakeholders to communicate Questacon’s aims and achievements
- ensures environmental issues are considered and given a high priority in all aspects of Questacon’s business
- ensures continual improvement by monitoring, reviewing and refining processes and procedures to enhance environmental performance
- complies with all relevant Commonwealth and ACT Government environmental legislation, policies and initiatives, and any other environmental initiatives that Questacon voluntarily commits to.
What we're doing to help
We are taking several specific actions that exemplify our commitment to a sustainable future.
Sustainable Development Goals
As part of the world science centre sector, and as a leader in the Australian science and cultural sector, Questacon is committed to supporting awareness of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
There is no ‘plan B’ because we do not have a ‘planet B’ – Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations 2007–2017
To highlight the SDGs, we engaged local graffiti artists Ian Dudley and Anna Trundle to create a mural alongside Ban Ki-moon’s quote at the Centre in Parkes. More than 500,000 people see the mural every year.
As a way to show the benefits of solar energy, we support Pollinate Energy. This organisation aims to improve the lives of urban communities in India by providing access to sustainable products.
Solar panel display and energy use
Our 95 kW solar panel array supplies about 120 megawatt hours of energy every year – so we draw less energy from the grid.
We also have a display that provides real-time information on the energy that our solar panel array produces throughout the day. The display compares our energy production with the energy consumption of an average Canberra household. The display also provides information on solar panel technology and the science of solar energy production.
See also our Awesome Earth exhibition.
We are accredited as part of the Actsmart Business Recycling program. That makes us one of more than 900 organisations across the ACT that are actively and efficiently recycling.
Our waste management is all about minimising the amount of material sent to landfill.
To do this, we use the 3 Rs of waste management – reduce, reuse, recycle – and dispose:
- avoid creating waste in the first place (reduce)
- reuse and repurpose where possible (reuse)
- deposit waste in the correct waste stream (recycle)
- use general waste bins as a last resort (dispose).
We separate waste into the following streams:
- mixed recycling (hard plastics, paper, cardboard)
- organics (includes paper towels and organic coffee cups)
- paper and cardboard
- shredded paper
- soft plastics
- toner cartridges
- chemical waste
- general waste (goes to landfill).
Waste reduction guidelines
- Don’t buy it if it's not needed.
- Reuse and repurpose materials where possible.
- Consider purchasing second-hand goods instead of new.
- Select products made of recycled materials (for example, 100% recycled paper).
- Don’t overorder products, such as publications, materials, consumables, chemicals and stationery.
- Buy certified sustainable products.
Think about the life cycle of items. Does the positive impact outweigh any negative financial or environmental impacts? For example, it is sometimes better to dispose of equipment, even if it can be serviced, if there is new technology that offsets the cost and environmental impact of disposing the old technology.
- Print on both sides of the paper.
- Don’t print at all if it’s not necessary.
- Write notes on used paper.
Food and drink:
- Don’t buy bottled water. Drink from reusable bottles, cups or glasses.
- Don’t buy disposable coffee cups. Bring a reusable cup to work.
- Select products that use less packaging.
Recycling and disposal:
- Use the correct waste stream.
- Dispose of chemicals and solids properly – do not empty them down the sink or drain.
- Find someone who can use whatever you are trying to dispose of.
Our environmental management system
We have an environmental management system (EMS) that meets international standard ISO 14001-2015. In keeping with the standard, we take a Plan, Do, Check, Act approach to managing our environmental impacts. Specifically, we:
- demonstrate leadership and commitment to environmental management
- identify internal and external stakeholders who affect or are affected by our EMS
- follow an established environmental policy that reflects the context and goals of our organisation
- assess environmental risks and opportunities to ensure that the EMS continues to do what we want it to do
- identify, document and manage our environmental aspects (the things we do that potentially affect the environment)
- establish environmental objectives and set measurable targets to achieve our goals
- undertake operational planning, and implement controls, to achieve environmental objectives
- regularly review our compliance and environmental performance
- address performance issues to improve our environmental management
- communicate environmental issues internally and externally through the Questacon Sustainability Group
- remain committed to continual improvement.
We are committed to continual improvement, so we’re always on the lookout for better ways to manage our environmental impacts.
If you have any suggestions or questions, or if you have a story to tell, please email us at email@example.com.