Eyes on PolyU

Urban farming – more than just a farm

With rising awareness for the need to reduce waste and reuse materials, more and more people are developing ways to repurpose material waste in innovative and creative ways. That’s where ‘upcycling’ comes in. Upcycling brings about a transformation of used materials, waste or unwanted items into new things, new products or new settings of good quality and better environmental value.

Some people practice upcycling at home as they turn their old t-shirts into bags, turn unwanted plastic bottles into new containers, or make fruit peels and vegetable waste into cleaner. Apart from being a household trend, upcycling in fact means much more. For the University, upcycling is a lesson to influence the entire campus community on sustainability behavior, and an exhibition of how waste materials can be creatively turned into promising deliverables to benefit others.

The Campus Sustainability Office staged an extraordinary showcase of upcycling this summer when it established the first-ever upcycled farm site to support its UrbanFarming@U Seed programme. This eye-catching piece of green in the center of the campus uses upcycled materials which were recovered from garbage dumps. These re-used materials combine to form a high-quality and fully-functional planting site and create a farming space that draws campus farmers closer to the natural environment. Here are a few of the features that might impress you:

Re-used crates were used to build the planters Re-used crates were used to build the planters instead of acquiring plastic planter boxes.
A nice tool storage cabinet upcycled from re-used crates Wooden crates and screws collected from garbage dumps were carefully sanded and assembled into a tool storage cabinet. 
Unwanted bamboo sticks also contribute to the farm Bamboo sticks were collected and affixed to the planters for hanging lights and trellising tall plants.  

The story of this brilliant upcycled farm site was also covered by local media! Read more from this media column and the feature story on GreenNet@PolyU and you will be astonished to see the real evidence of upcycling in practice on campus. 

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