Thursday, 29 July 2010

Students Reducing Waste and Helping Charity at the Same Time!

The University of Greenwich has saved over one tonne of reusable items that would normally end up in the skip and local charities are the ones to benefit. Working in partnership with an organisation called CRISP, students and volunteers at Avery Hill Campus saved items that would have otherwise been thrown out at the end of the year. These items have been collected by CRISP who are now redistributing these items to a number of London based charities.

Isabelle in amongst the donations

The project was spearheaded by the University’s Sustainability Team, Kat Thorne and John Bailey, and run by their Sustainability Projects Intern, Isabelle Monk, who recruited student volunteers to help promote the project and collect the waste to a central point on Avery Hill Campus. Students, who typically leave behind and throw away a lot of waste when they return home for summer, were encouraged to identify items that they no longer wanted but could be re-used by charity. By the end of the project the students had donated over one tonne of items (that’s one kg per student!) including televisions, clothes, kitchenware, books, stationary and a lot of bedding.

All the waste collected together

Due to the variety of items donated there will be a number of charities that will benefit, much of the bedding will be going to local homeless shelters and will be keeping some of London’s homeless people warm this winter. Clothes will be filling the rails of the local charity shops and being sported by many living in refugee camps across the world while many of the other items will be sold on to raise funds for the likes of Red Cross, Traid, St. Mungo’s and Help for Heroes.

The Halls reuse scheme has run in a number of other London universities previously but this is the first time at the University of Greenwich. The pilot project has been widely hailed as a success and will be rolled out across all the halls at the University next year. The success of the project was thanks to everyone involved including Housekeepers, Porters, Student Accommodation office, and the student volunteers, especially Construction Management MSc student Ashrith Patel who dedicated a lot of time to the project. Thanks to everyone that was involved.

The guys from CRISP and the full van

Tomas helps with collecting a TV

Friday, 16 July 2010

New Recycling Bins at Greenwich Campus

The University of Greenwich is taking exciting steps in its plans to take the University towards the goal of ‘Zero to Landfill’. Soon you will notice that there will be new bins appearing across the Greenwich Campus for two different waste streams: Mixed Recyclables and Non recyclables.

The new bins have arrived so that you can take the waste that you generate at work to the nearest recycling bin and separate the waste accordingly. We expect that these bins are going to contribute to a significant increase in the amount of waste that is recycled at Greenwich Campus.

To further the project’s success we will eventually ‘bin the bin’. Case studies in many other universities have shown that by removing under desk bins while providing sufficient recycling bins as an alternative has been an effective way of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. Bywaters, our current waste contractor expect a rise to between 80-90% recycling rates achieved by removal of the under desk bins. If we hit these rates of recycling it will be huge achievement and it will be largely thanks to staff cooperation and participation. That means you!

The recycling rate at the Greenwich Campus is currently a little less than 50% through the existing bin system (Dec 2009 – May 2010) by raising this we can start to see the University achieve significant savings. Landfill tax is currently at £48 per tonne and steadily rising, therefore reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill should bring substantial benefits for the University.

Monday, 5 July 2010

TFL Cycle Challenge 2010

TFL Cycle Challenge

The TFL Cycle Challenge has now come to an end and the University of Greenwich staff have impressively logged over 10,500 miles over the course of the month. This mileage covered on bicycle amounts to nearly three tonnes of CO2 saved and over 400,000 calories burnt or the equivalent of around 1,500 mars bars!

In the University of Greenwich team the top riders were dominated by members of the Sustainability Team and the Vice Chancellor’s Office. With Neil Garrod and Tom Barnes training for their ride from Brussels the miles were being racked up between them thick and fast although they didn’t quite manage to beat the combined mileage of the Sustainability Team.

The Top 5 riders within the University are as follows:
1. John Bailey (Sustainability Projects Officer) – 716 miles
2. Neil Garrod (Deputy Vice Chancellor Resources) – 698 miles
3. Kat Thorne (Sustainable Development Manager) – 630 miles
4. Tom Barnes (Deputy Vice Chancellor Research & Enterprise) – 625 miles
5. Adele Brookes (Architectural Assistant) – 624 miles

The Challenge brought together staff members from all three campuses and a wide spread across the University departments, some of whom enjoyed perks such as a free breakfast during bike week and a scenic cycle ride along the River Thames. There are now discussions of how to get even more people on their bikes to ride to work and future events to promote sustainable travel options across the University as a whole.
Tom Barnes & Neil Garrod on their bikes

As well as the University’s achievement together there are lots of individual stories to take note of through the Cycle Challenge. Several members of staff tried cycling to work for the first time and many have decided to continue to do this from now on. Tim Brown has now stated his intention to cycle to Greenwich from Kilburn every day as a direct result of finding his bum on the saddle through the cycle challenge.