Spot the plastic bottles: The new graduation gowns at UQ are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles. Modelled by July graduating students Hannah Hardy and Casey Fung.
Spot the plastic bottles: The new graduation gowns at UQ are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles. Modelled by July graduating students Hannah Hardy and Casey Fung.
18 July 2016

Academic gowns made entirely from recycled plastic drink bottles will be worn by up to 3000 students graduating at 10 ceremonies at St Lucia campus from July 19 to 22.

Each black gown contains the equivalent of 28 recycled bottles ground into chips and melted into new fibres.

UQ Student Progression Manager Athol Reid said the sustainably produced Envirograd gowns from Reed Graduations had been selected in a tender process designed to maximise the value and experience for graduating students.

“There is no drop in quality compared with other synthetic gowns,” he said.

“These gowns offer an excellent fit, are lighter in weight and are probably better for a hot Queensland summer than any other good polyester.

“Each coursework gown hire comes with a free commemorative trencher cap lined with the UQ logo, which the graduands seem to appreciate.”

Each gown is 100 per cent recyclable, as they are able to be made into new gowns in future. In the past, synthetic academic gowns tended to be made from polyester and nylon from non-recycled sources.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the gowns were in keeping with the university’s vision of sustainability, innovation and impact.

“Climate change, resource sustainability, ethical practices – these are all challenges we face today, and our students can take their first steps as UQ graduates knowing they are helping us create positive environmental change,” Professor Høj said.

“Each student is graduating with the skills and enterprising mindset to adapt the way we operate in a rapidly changing world.” 

UQ has a strong precedent in innovating to foster positive environmental change – hosting Queensland’s largest solar array; the Global Change Institute, which brings together world-class experts to develop solutions to challenges of a changing environment; and a Sustainability Unit to ensure university practices are continually evolving.

UQ is a signatory to both the Talloires Declaration and Universitas 21 “Statement for Sustainability” to affirm its commitment to fostering an institutional culture of sustainability.

July’s 4500 graduating students include about 400 research higher degrees. Together, they bring the global community of UQ graduates to more than 236,000 - including more than 12,350 PhDs in at least 170 countries.

That community includes Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, actor Geoffrey Rush, the founders of, Eurovision Song Contest runner-up Dami Im, Nobel Prize winner Professor Peter Doherty and President of the University of California Professor Sam Hawgood, to name a few.

“Each graduate joins a diverse, esteemed and growing community of UQ alumni doing great things globally in government, industry, research, business, the arts and not-for-profit organisations,” Professor Høj said.

“We’re always so proud to hear of the latest successes and innovations from our community of graduated students, and we reach out to each student on their graduation day to stay in touch with us well into the future.”

Professor Høj said people who wanted to study at UQ in 2016 should apply through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre.

Prospective students can find more information here.    

They can also contact UQ Admissions on (07) 3365 2203 or for information.

Instagram photos hashtagged #UQmemories or #UQalumni will be added to UQ’s December graduation collection.

Media: UQ Communications, 07 3346 0561 or