The University has an enviable record for environmental work which has been recognised with an EcoCampus gold award and has seen the University ranked 26 out of 145 universities in the 2012 Guardian Green League table. In this interview, we speak to Rebecca Cottington, Environmental Officer, about Going Green and find out what’s happening as part of the campaign.
What are you up to at the moment?
"Lots of different things! As the Environmental Officer I get involved in lots of different projects from waste management and saving energy to looking at how we can increase the sustainability of our procurement and use of transport. A big part of my job over the last couple of years has also been putting in our EcoCampus Environment Management System which we got the EcoCampus Gold award for last year and we hope to get the Platinum award for this shortly."
What's important about the Going Green campaign?
"The University has been working really hard to improve its environmental performance and has been very successful in some areas. For example, we have reduced our energy use in buildings by 19.48% and water use by some 36% since 2005/06. However, one of the areas we have identified where we could make significant further improvements this year is by reducing the waste we produce and increasing our recycling. This is what this project is about."
How will the Going Green campaign work?
"The Going Green recycling campaign will start at City South Campus and returning staff and students there should have noticed an increase in the number of recycling bins around the site from Monday 17 September 2012. As well as increasing the number of bins at this site we have also added a new green 'dry mixed recycling' bin. This bin can take many of the materials that previously had to be thrown away such as cardboard food sleeves, magazines, newspapers, coloured paper, food and drinks cans, biscuit tins, clear polythene and shrink wrap."
Why is the campaign being rolled out at City South Campus to begin with?
"Staff at City South volunteered to work with Donna Harrison, Assistant Director of Campus Services and Management and the Project lead, to improve the facilities at their City South Campus and they have provided the new bins required. They have also agreed to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the new system. If the trial at City South is successful we hope to eventually roll out the improved facilities to all our sites."
What's the overall aim of Going Green?
"The aim is to reduce the waste we send for disposal by significantly increasing our recycling rates."
What effect will Going Green have on students and staff?
"It should make it easier for staff and students to recycle a wider variety of wastes."
How do you think the campaign will benefit the University?
"The University is currently working towards achieving the EcoCampus Platinum award and to achieve this we want to be able to demonstrate that we are continually improving our environmental performance in all areas. This is a project that everyone can easily get involved with and by helping us recycle more you can also contribute to our University wide achievements."
What sort of things should people be looking out for?
"From the 17 September the recycling bins at City South will become four bins stations. There will be one bin for white paper, one for plastic bottles, a new green dry mixed recycling bin, (as above) and a general waste bin for anything that cannot be recycled. We have also introduced what we hope is a clearer labelling system for bins to avoid confusion over what can go in each bin. There will be opportunities to provide formal feedback but staff and students can contact us at any time to give feedback or ask questions at firstname.lastname@example.org."