Sustainable Planet

Our Four Pillars of Impact

We are committed across all of our Member Ys nationally and globally, to decreasing our carbon footprint, supporting sustainability solutions, and contributing to regenerate the earth. Here are some of our current initiatives toward our globally aligned strategic pillar – a sustainable planet:

Gym workouts power our gyms! (NT)

The Y NT’s Eco Gym has specially engineered equipment that converts human movement (from gym members) into electricity that powers the facility and puts energy back into the electricity grid for others in the community to use!

So, every time someone works out at the Y, they are helping power the lights, fans and air-conditioning in the centre and in homes across the neighbourhood – both burning calories and reducing fossil fuels. Good for gym users, good for their community and good for our planet.

Launched in March 2022, the eco-first initiative at gyms in Katherine and Alice Springs support
the wellbeing of our community and the health of our planet at the same time. See more here.

Geothermal Engineering – reducing carbon emissions at our pools

The pools at our Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre (managed by Y Victoria) are heated with
an innovative geothermal engineered system. The system extracts heat from 600 metres below
the earth’s surface and into its heat exchange, allowing water from the pool to become and stay
warm for extended periods, with minimal energy use.

Integrating geothermal technology has reduced carbon emissions at the Aquatic Centre by around
840 tonnes a year, resulting in energy savings of approximately $639,000.

Bush Kinder programs (Ballarat)

Currently 30% of the services delivered (by Y Ballarat) across the state of Victoria offer a bush
kinder or nature play program, with recent research evidence showing the significant benefits
for children of unstructured play in natural environments.

We recognise the importance of play, including unstructured play in natural environments, and
the importance of educating children about how important environmental sustainability is – from
a young age. Through Y Ballarat alone, over 3,779 families were enrolled across Y Ballarat’s 88 kindergarten services, with 4,135 children participating.

Implementing waste reduction strategies in our aquatic centres (SA)

The South Australian Aquatic and Leisure Centre (SAALC) has been driving change through its Waste Reduction and Energy Saving Strategy, by:

  • Prioritising recycling through South Australia’s container deposit scheme, to recycle cans, cartons and bottles.
  • Eliminating plastic bags, removing plastic straws, and reducing the amount of plastic
    used in catering.
  • Diverting 80% of the centre’s waste, by separating items that can be recycled from
    waterways and landfill.
  • Incentivising the use of reusable coffee cups, by offering discounted coffee where patrons
    bring their own cups.
  • Diverting 3.6 million face masks from landfill – saving 12.96 tonnes of carbon being released
    in the environment.

eWater Systems – replacing chemical cleaning solutions (Vic)

The Y in Victoria has installed eWater Systems in all of their Early Learning Centres across Victoria – a chemical-free cleaning solution which is environmentally friendly, sustainable, and safe for children to use. eWater generates cleaning, sanitising and disinfectant solutions that requires only salt, water, and electricity as inputs.

The system requires a simple installation in a kitchen or cleaning room and at the press of a
button will produce an unlimited supply, replacing the need for most of the commercial cleaning, sanitising and disinfectants found in businesses around the country.

Recycling our old uniforms

One of our exciting initiatives at the Y offering a sustainability solution is recycling our old uniforms.

At the end of last year, Y Services launched its first ever national recycling program, partnering with Textile Recyclers Australia, to help make it super easy for you to recycle your old uniforms with us.

TRA’s mission is to keep apparel and other textiles out of landfill, whilst investing in circular solutions for the textile industry.

WhyNot! – blueprint for the future

“As the young people of the world, it’s up to us now to reach out, to speak out, to be continuously learning and growing and to have hope” – 26 year old Marama Grace Brownsdon.

Marama, an Aussie/Maori raised in Perth, was a finalist of the Youth Summit Creative Competition in 2022 for “The blueprint for the future”, which is a thoroughly researched presentation. Marama worked with leading experts, and says that regeneration at the whole of landscape scale is our greatest opportunity, to repair farm productivity, to restore biodiversity and to rebalance the climate.

The whole of landscape approach encourages us to see the bigger picture of how our environment, climate and health are all interconnected and independent. She explores landscape literacy, bio-geomorphology, looks at the Australian landscape to understand biological processes, indigenous knowledge, and practical next step solutions. See this fabulous presentation featured on WhyNot here.

WhyNot is a platform for young people, by young people – to support and learn from each other without judgement or stereotypes and to amplify young people’s voices, that deserve to be heard. And those voices are loud and clear – they care about climate change and a sustainable planet.

Pillar 3


Our four pillars of impact, also check out what we do in the others below:

Also, see more in our 2023 Community Impact Report here.

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