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Earth Month – highlighting the Y’s innovative sustainability solutions

April 3, 2023 Sustainable Planet

The Y is committed to innovatively decreasing our carbon footprint, supporting sustainable solutions, and contributing to regenerate the earth. We have solutions. And we have hope. For Earth Month, we wanted to highlight some of the Y’s initiatives across Australia, in the hope that we inspire others with ideas too.

Australia’s first eco 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.

Recycling 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.


Reducing carbon emissions in our aquatic centres – through geothermal engineering
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 over $600,000.


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. See this fabulous presentation featured on WhyNot here.

Implementing waste reduction strategies in our aquatic centres
Our 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 (approx. 32 tonnes).
  • 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 – is 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.

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. Recent research evidences the significant benefits for children of unstructured play in natural environments.We recognise the importance of play, including unstructured play in natural environments, which includes educating children about how important environmental sustainability is, from a young age.



And we’re excited about the future, with more innovative sustainable solutions on the way!


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