Group photo of Waste Fighters Society holding up garbage bags against a mural at Bondi Beach for Clean Up Australia Day.

Meet the students driving sustainability efforts in our community

Helping make campus a waste-free environment

We spoke with two executives from the Waste Fighters Society about how their team fosters a sustainability-minded community on campus through fun, informative and collaborative waste fighting initiatives.

Founded in 2016, Waste Fighters Society is student-led group passionate about making waste reduction (on and off campus) fun and achievable through informative and collaborative sustainability initiatives. 

The society run a variety of events throughout the semester, including regular coffee catch-ups, workshops, talks, beach cleanups and clothes swaps.

Ren, fourth-year Taronga Wildlife Conservation student and president of Waste Fighters Society, says Waste Fighters has grown substantially since 2016, both in numbers and size of impact within the community. 

"Waste Fighters Society was started in 2016 on campus, originally with a goal to reduce food wastage," says Ren. 

"But in that time, we've expanded to build a community that's really focused on building awareness of waste and trying to foster opportunities to reduce waste at home, on campus, in community." 

Photograph of Leilah, Irene and Ren from Waste Fighters Soc sitting at a table.

From left to right: Ren (president), Irene (events coordinator) and Leilah (secretary). 

Waste Fighters has also recently forged ties with the University's sustainability team, most recently jointly launching the Enabler Recycling Wall in Wentworth Building during Enviro Fair (18–20 April).

The relationship with the sustainability team has had a positive impact on the society, Ren says. 

"We've been really excited to work with the USYD sustainability team this semester," says Ren. 

"We've really been pushing for a wider student reach so that we can have a greater impact and that's been a really nice process to be a part of." 

Students and staff posing for a photograph against the Enabler Wall in Wentworth Building holding up a banner that says: "Waste Fighters".

The Enabler Recycling Wall on Level 2 of the Wentworth Building.

For Leilah, third-year Taronga Wildlife Conservation student and secretary of Waste Fighters, joining Waste Fighters also gave her the opportunity to make new connections.

"One of the main reasons for me was to meet people who had the same interests and the same passions, and wanted to find ways to be more sustainable in their everyday lives," says Leilah.

"I just really like to surround myself with people who share those ideas, so it was a great opportunity to meet people." 

If you're just starting your sustainability journey, there's plenty of events and volunteering opportunities to get involved with on and around campus, says Ren. 

"The USYD Community Garden, which I feel like a lot of students don't know about, is always looking for volunteers and is a fantastic initiative to be a part of." 

Flowers and plants in the USYD Community Garden

USYD Community Garden, along Maze Ct opposite the Wilkinson Building.

There's also so many ways you can easily incorporate sustainability into your everyday life on campus, says Leilah, from borrowing resusable cups on campus via the Green Caffeen app to composing your food waste in the green bins around campus.  

To keep up to date with events and workshops, follow Waste Fighters Society on Instagram, Facebook or email

24 April 2023

Related articles