Where are you going this summer?

Although the weather might be variable in Scotland we do often get a short wearing kind of day, and these should be taken advantage of. Whether you are considering what to do this summer holiday, or have already decided to spend some time at home, have a look at our recommendations of things to do in and around St Andrews, and in Scotland. Let us know if you decide to go exploring as we always love hearing from you. If you are considering how you are going to travel think about hiring out an E Car for the day. There are plenty to book out from various stations around St Andrews and are affordable and have low carbon emissions. If you want to know more, follow this link.

Close to home….

St Andrews

First of all we will begin with our own neighbourhood. Although it may be small, St Andrews boasts many interesting corners and lanes ready to be explored, making for a few fun filled days. Here are a few ideas to explore:

  • St Andrews has its own Cathedral and Castle which are well worth a visit and located very near each other. If you are a student and own a gown (and wear it) you will get in for free to the Castle (and feel like you are in Hogwarts!)
  • Craigtoun Country Park, is just 2 miles from St Andrews and is easily accessible by bus, bike or on foot. Activities within Craigtoun Country Park include a playpark, rowing on the lake, crazy golf and trampolines!
  • St Andrews has three beaches which you can enjoy, and on a warm day take a good book to read at. West Sands offers a long afternoon walk, and you can cut back along the Old Course finishing back at the 18th hole! East Sands is shorter but is just as popular. Grab an ice cream, take a walk along the pier and finish by strolling along the sea front. Last but not least is Castle Sands. Although the smallest beach in St Andrews, Castle Sands is perfect to take a picnic down to, and has a pool suitable for paddling in or for practicing your rock skimming skills.
  • Along the coast from St Andrews you can discover quiet little harbour villages with excellent food and drink opportunities waiting to be discovered. These areas are accessible by bus (or be E Car!), or on foot if you fancy taking a long walk along the scenic coastal footpath. Villages including St Monans and Crail are worth visiting, with the Cocoa Tree Café in Pittenweem, and Anstruther’s famous Fish Bar a must!

A little further afield….

Stirling

Stirling is a city rich in history with plenty to do for all ages and interests. Stirling is also surrounded by beautiful countryside, making for the perfect escape if you want some peace and quiet. The iconic Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle are well worth a visit and can be both done easily in a day. To get to Perth you could hire out on of the E Cars, or take a bus to Dundee and hop on a train to Stirling for the quickest route.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is well worth a visit even for a day or two. You won’t be short of things to do from visiting the Castle, to exploring the beauty of the Botanic Gardens. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the centre of city take a walk down to Stockbridge. There you will find beautiful cobbled streets waiting to be explored with many interesting coffee shops and lunch spots to be tried! We recommend travelling by train to enjoy the most scenic route to Edinburgh from St Andrews and to experience crossing the iconic Forth Rail Bridge. Trains run regularly from Leuchars and will take you straight into the heart of Edinburgh. Alternatively, you can take the X59 bus directly from St Andrews to Edinburgh.

If you fancy a weekend away……

Isle of Skye

Skye is one of the most popular destinations for locals and tourists to visit. If you go you will understand why! The islands boasts stunning scenery and is a popular destination for walkers and climbers of all experiences. The island is also popular with those who love to see wildlife and, in particular, bird watchers. Skye is home to the White Tailed Sea Eagle which attracts many people from far and wide, however you may also be able to spot dolphins, whales and red deer! Other islands are easily accessible from Skye so if you wanted to extend your trip and discover more of Scotland you could do so with ease. Most people opt to rent a car if they are travelling to Skye, however you could also choose to take the train to Glasgow and then onward to Mallaig. From Mallaig a ferry can be taken which will take you to Skye and then the adventure really begins!

Staff on the go in and around St Andrews

Between the months of March and April staff members at the University of St Andrews were invited to take part in the annual Staff Travel Survey. This year we received an outstanding 929 responses (42%), providing an in depth insight into the behaviours and views of academic and support staff from across the university. In this blog we provide a brief insight into the main findings of the survey. If you would like to know more, or if you would like tell us more about your views on travel in St Andrews, please email environment@st-andrews.ac.uk. 

For many of our staff members in the university travel makes up a large part of their day both before and after work, and as the global influence of the university extends to all corners of the globe travel for business is becoming extremely important for both academic research, and maintaining international connections.

This is accounted for in the university’s carbon footprint which provides an accurate account of the amount of carbon we are using and emitting within a variety of areas. One of these areas includes travel, and more specifically, business travel. The results of carbon footprint for the year 2015 – 2016 can be seen below with business travel making 22% of the total carbon footprint.

Every year the university conducts a Staff Travel Survey which is analysed by the Environment Team. This is aimed at helping the university understand the behaviours and attitudes of our staff and the requirements they have at work in order to efficiently plan for the future, in terms of infrastructure and services available. The main results of the 2017 survey are highlighted below.

How do our staff travel to work?

Table 1. Current mode of travel to work, 2006-2017

Since 2016 the number of staff travelling by bike to work has increased by 0.5%, and the number of staff walking to work has increased by 2%. Overall statistics are encouraging as we see staff member choosing sustainable transport options, particularly during working hours. Over 60% of staff take the opportunity to enjoy St Andrews and stretch their legs by walking between meetings within town. We view personal feedback as being integral to how we manage future projects and target resources. From the feedback received in the survey 45.6% of academic staff would consider cycling to work on a frequent basis if the cycle paths in town were improved and if the university provided more showering facilities across campus.

The second part of the survey focused primarily on the effects of the move to Eden Campus for support staff members. Overall figures indicate that commuting distance and time taken to get to work will increase. From the support staff figures 30% stated that their car usage would increase and 11.7% stated that the move would increase their bike usage. Concerns raised include, the facilities provided at Eden Campus including car parking spaces, connections to town to increase ease of business travel and the effect commutes will have on work hours.

Thank you to all who took the time to fill out the survey. We greatly appreciate your time, and your thoughts and insights.

A huge congratulations to our survey winners! Lynsey Smith, Education Liaison Office in Admissions, who won a £50 DP&L Travel Management travel voucher, Andrew Clark, Research Assistant at the School of Biology, who won £100 in Amazon vouchers generously donated and presented by Gary Overstone from Hardies Property & Construction Consultants, and Rachel Nordstrom, Photographic Collections Manager, who won the free membership and one day free booking kindly donated by E-Car Club.

If you would like to see a more in-depth and detailed analysis of the results please email environment@st-andrews.ac.uk.

The new and improved Environmental Facilitator training programme

We are delighted to announce that the new Environmental Facilitator Training is now available for all University of St Andrews staff to enrol in. Are you passionate about the environment? Would you like to drive positive change in your workplace? The Environment Team want to hear from you! Take a look at our short video we have produced to learn more!

Environmental Facilitator’s at Eden Campus

The Environmental Facilitator programme aims to equip all staff members will the knowledge and skill sets required to make critical changes within the work place and to engage with their colleagues on issues related to climate change. We aim for this programme to be a positive experience to help create innovative ideas to help the university move forward towards becoming a sustainable university, and to create the opportunity for staff members to network and meet new people from across campus. By bringing a variety of people together we aim to create a body of people who each care about the future of the environment to inspire others.

The training now comprises of 9 short videos covering areas including food, energy and recycling, all available on Moodle. With interactive quizzes to complete at the end of each video we hope that this new format will be more engaging, and allow staff members to complete the training in their own time. Once each participant has completed the module, a meeting will be arranged with representatives of CAPOD and the Environment Team to discuss any questions and to create an action plan for what each facilitator would like to achieve. Once you have completed the training you will be expected to exercise the skills and knowledge you acquired through your training in your place of work by engaging with your colleagues, promoting sustainable behaviours and finding innovative ways to make your department more sustainable! In addition, you will be invited to attend regular networking events for all our Environmental Facilitators which will provide an opportunity for updates, sharing case studies and joint problem solving.

With over 90 people having completed the training and currently enrolled in the programme we are excited about the progress this programme has seen over the years, through the number of people participating and through the initiatives our facilitators have under taken within their departments. However, we think there is more to be done and with call to action for university’s to respond to climate change and to mitigate against resulting effects we are seeking more people to act as ambassadors for the environment and to support colleagues in making changes that will not only positively effect their personal carbon footprint, but the university’s as well.

If you are interested in making a difference within the university and playing a crucial part in achieving our sustainability goals, please email environment@st-andrews.ac.uk!

Label: Environmental Fashion!

Fashion is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries, with its influence expanding to all areas of the world. We decided to catch up with Jo Boon, founder of Label, to tell us about her company and their latest event, Grounded, which focused on showcasing designers with the environment at the heart of what they do. We are encouraged to see our students investing their time and efforts into these areas of sustainability and we look forward to hearing from and supporting Label in the coming years. Let’s make sustainability fashionable.

Jo Boon, founder of Label.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Label?

My name is Jo Boon and I am founder of Label, a performance arts company specialising in body positive fashion shows. I will soon be graduating with a degree in International Relations and Comparative Literature, and working as a journalist in Manchester/ London next year. The aim of Label is to create a platform for people to share their stories and showcase different ideas of beauty. I will be running Label shows across the country in the future, and it will be continuing in St Andrews next year too. Label is all about inclusivity and diversity; giving people the opportunity to both feel beauty and have their voice be heard.

Tell us about your recent event ‘Grounded’? What were your aims for the event?

Grounded was our big end of year fashion show, that took place in April in the Old Course conservatory. We showcased 18 environmental designers, with the aim of promoting slow fashion and a more ethical lifestyle. The fashion industry is huge, and a space of talent, creativity and opportunity. However, it also does a great deal of damage and is the second most polluting industry, closely behind oil. The fashion industry will not be disappearing any time soon, but we can shift the capital of that buying potential into ethical products, providing a good quality of life for those making our clothes and protecting our environment. Our aim was to raise awareness of these brands and encourage people to invest, both in their beautiful designs, and their ethical priorities.

Models showcasing designer clothing at Grounded fashion event

What is environmental fashion?

Environmental fashion is clothing made from ethical materials, this could be anything from using organic cotton through to upcycling garments so nothing is wasted. Environmental fashion is ideally well made and designed to be worn repeatedly to help prevent our throw away culture. Another factor is travel costs, ideally environmental clothing should be locally sourced so that there isn’t the environmental damage of clothes being flown across the world to you. Environmental fashion should also provide a good quality of life for those making the clothes; it should be ethical at both ends of the consumer chain.

Do you think sustainability/environmental awareness should be a fundamental part of fashion? Why?

Yes, absolutely. I think the only reason we ignore this is because it’s been made so easy for us to do so. I’d like to think most people would be appalled if they were aware of the extent of the problem. If we’re going to talk about fashion as a platform of self-expression, then we need to be expressing ourselves in a way that doesn’t destroy the planet.

Grounded fashion show at the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews

What more do you think can be done within the fashion industry in terms of sustainability and environmental awareness?

Awareness raising is a huge part of it, but ultimately there simply needs to be a reprioritisation of the issue, both from designers and consumers. It’s better to buy one pair of ethically made jeans than five pairs of unethical jeans. It often does cost more but the more we choose these products the more accessible they become. Buying patterns are hugely important, and where we place our money shows what we care about and will force big brands to listen also. If you’re within a wealth bracket that you can afford environmentally friendly products: don’t be lazy, buy them.

Do you have a favourite fashion label?

A personal favourite for clothes is Komodo, they have gorgeous designs that are all ethically made. One of my all-time favourites is TOMS though who make shoes, including vegan options and do a huge amount of charity work and awareness raising. One of the best is their ‘one for one’ project, which means for every pair of shoes you buy they give a pair to a child in need.

What’s next for Label?

Label will be continuing in St Andrews next year, and it’s very exciting to know I’ve established something long term here. We’re also expanding though and will be growing branches in both Manchester and London, thanks to friends who’ve worked on the project and new people joining the team. Body positive fashion shows will remain a huge part of what we do, but I’ll also be running more theatre pieces and arts events to keep on spreading the message of inclusivity and diversity. The magazine is very close to my heart and I look forward to developing that over the coming years. We will keep on trying to change industry standards and providing alternatives for all those interested in greater representation.

Find Label on Facebook and read Jo’s latest blog The Ethical Wardrobe. If you would like to know more, or to discuss this topic further please email environment@st-andrews.ac.uk.

‘The True Cost of Fashion’

Fairtrade Fortnight 2017 in St Andrews was huge success with over 350 people across the town and gown engaging and getting involved with the different events organised by various societies and groups across St Andrews. From smoothie bikes at halls of residences to coffee mornings within various departments of the University to a Fairtrade Hungarian Sweet loaf Skillshare, the fortnight was enjoyed by many with over £150 raised and donated to the Fairtrade Foundation.

Smoothie Bike with Just Love

One event in particular that was both eye opening and shocking was the screening of the True Cost of Fashion documentary organised by the Environment Subcommittee for the Students Association. Every year 1.5 billion garments are sown by approximately 40 million people, predominantly found in countries described as ‘least developed’. The film looks at how and where our clothing is made and the huge, and devastating human and environmental costs that come with the fast fashion industry that has evolved over the years. The documentary also focuses on those who are battling these industries, those who are striving to make consumers more aware of fashion industry and the related environmental atrocities and human exploitation. The documentary empowers individuals to make changes in buying habits that can positively change the whole supply chain. The documentary calls for positive changes that help those who are making the goods we use and who are seen to be at the bottom of the supply, by giving them the respect that they deserve.

True Cost of Fashion screening at the Byre Theatre

If you would like to watch this powerful documentary it is available on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon video or to learn more about sourcing ethically follow the link.

Businesses and institutions have a huge impact and influence on the whole supply chain. As St Andrews University moves forward into the rest of 2017 as a proud Fairtrade certified University we seek to continue in our efforts to source both food and clothing that supports those who produce and farm the things we consume on a daily basis through the provision of fairer salaries, and social and environmental opportunities for sustainable development.

But we also need change on a personal and individual level. Fairtrade Fortnight 2017 has left us thinking more critically about where we put our money and what differences we can make in our spending habits and attitudes. Do we really know where our money is going, and what it is doing? What can we change?

If you would like to see more about Fairtrade in St Andrews why not watch the latest video produced for us by Bubble TV, or email us at fairtrade@st-andrews.ac.uk. Choose Fairtrade.

 

‘Textile recycling never goes out of fashion’

Ever wondered what happens to your clothes once you’ve put them into a recycling bank, or into your local charity shop?

This week some of us from the University’s Environment Team and Transition St Andrews went to visit Nathan’s Wastesavers, one of the UK’s largest textile recycling companies based just outside of Falkirk. It was an eye opening experience not only to see the volume and scale of textiles the company deals with on a daily basis, but the hard work of their members of staff who help maintain the zero waste to landfill achievement that the company proudly holds. Our fantastic and insightful tour was led by Peter, Nathan’s Wastesavers’ Recycling Manager.

At Nathan’s Wastesavers around 250 people sort and process over 650 tons of textiles per week, with the primary aim and focus to divert any textiles from ending up at landfill. Peter told us that Nathan’s Wastesavers currently holds a 72% reuse rate and a 26% recycled rate. The remaining % of textiles is sold to DOW for energy production. These figures are incredibly encouraging and sets a challenge to all companies, that zero waste to landfill is achievable!

What actually happens within the walls of the company, and where do our clothes go?

Nathan’s Wastesavers takes in donations made to clothing banks at recycling centers and schools, and buys textiles from organizations and charity shops. Materials that are reused or recycled are then sold onto companies within the UK, and further afield to Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. This is, ultimately, how the company makes profit with prices dependent on three factors; the value of oil and the pound, and the economic growth of China.

Once the clothes have arrived at the center they are processed and divided up by hand into types of clothing or textile. Employees within the ware house work along conveyor belts dividing and sorting up the items, placing them areas divided by final destinations. Peter commented that they employ many Europeans as they have valuable knowledge of what types of clothing, shoes etc. are needed and required within specific countries that the company sells to. This, therefore, helps increase the efficiency of the whole system for both Nathan’s Wastesavers and the companies receiving the items.

What happens to the textiles once they have been sorted?

Once the textiles have been processed, items selected for Europe, Asia and Africa are transported to Grangemouth to be shipped to their final destination. However, not all goods are sold to foreign organizations. Nathan’s Wastesavers have several deals with local, UK based companies. For example, one specific area of the warehouse is designated to vintage clothing bought in by the company. Items that are identified as suitably ‘vintage’ are separated and, once sorted, sent to Armstrongs Vintage Emporium in Edinburgh, a vintage specialty shop located in the Grassmarket. Nathan’s Wastesavers also has contracts with major shoe companies including Clarks, Dune and Office. They buy in all unsold shoes that are out of season and sell them on to companies based in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Real fur vintage coats ready to be sold to Armstrongs, Edinburgh

What about the 26% of recycled materials? Where does that go?

Items brought in that are deemed to be too poor in quality to be sold on are recycled! Nathan’s Wastesavers primarily recycles the majority of textiles into cloths, usually used for cleaning purposes. Nathan’s Wastesavers also considers the bags that contain the textiles when they first arrive on site. We were informed that the bags are sold to China to a specific company. Although our tour guide acknowledged the fact that this is not the most sustainable way of recycling and reusing the bags, and that it affects the overall carbon footprint of the process, they sell the bags on to China due to the best prices they are offered by companies based there compared to UK or European companies.

Peter standing by packaged plastic bags ready to be transported to China

This is just one of the problems and concerns the company faces as they strive to a more sustainable future, both within their company and in their external processes and dealerships. Peter commented on how they can never be sure of what companies exactly do with their items once they have been sold. Is all of the clothing sold on to other companies completely reused, or does some of it end up going to landfill anyway?

When asked what we can do to help them, Peter mentioned that the public should put all clothing into bags, whether it be torn, underwear or one odd shoe. He also continued to say that people should only put textiles (and that can include curtains, bath mats etc.) into the bags and not to put in food waste or perishables. This contaminates the clothing making it unfit for processing, and can often cause problems further down the line if not identified early on.

If you would like to learn more about Nathan’s Wastesavers please take a look at their website. Here in St Andrews we have an abundance of charity shops willing to take in any clothes you no longer want! We also have a recycling bank up behind Morrisons where you can drop off all unwanted textiles at.

Think: reuse and recycle!

Why you should buy Fairtrade flowers:

When you say Fairtrade most people will automatically think; chocolate, bananas and maybe even wine! But did you know that you can also buy Fairtrade roses amongst many other items including ice cream, quinoa vodka and coconut oil?

Fairtrade roses made into a bouquet for a University staff member

Across the world the flower trade is a large, and rapidly expanding industry, with global trade estimated to be worth more than $100 billion every year! With the industry expanding with every year, it is becoming important to understand how the whole industry is run, who is involved and what goes on before the flowers land on our doorsteps.

The flower industry is incredibly important to developing countries and counties who rely on this trade  as one of their main sources of income. For example, Kenya’s flower industry provides income for up to 2 million people and generates more than $500 million a year. This industry predominantly employs female workers, often from poor and uneducated backgrounds. Although with the help from Fairtade and other companies, working and living conditions for workers and their communities have improved across the world, however there is still plenty that can be done.

Fairtrade seeks to protect and benefit workers on farms across the world. By purchasing flowers with the Fairtrade logo you can be sure your money is going to those who need it the most, through the protection of worker’s rights including economic, environmental and social factors. To date there are 50,000 flower workers working under Fairtrade! Fairtrade currently works with 55 Fairtade flower producer companies across 8 countries. Sales of Fairtrade products generate a Fairtrade Premium, which is spent on improving education and housing systems, provision of safe water supplies and sanitation systems, renovation of buildings, and empowering and supporting people in their own businesses and communities to create sustainable economies. 

Last week saw Valentine’s Day and the University of St Andrews Fairtrade Steering Group thought it would be a good opportunity to spread the love for Fairtrade! With orders placed, we sourced some Fairtrade roses to be brought in and gave the bouquets to our staff members to give to their loved ones. 10 days later and you can see that the flowers are still as beautiful as the day they were bought.

10 day old Fairtrade roses

Many farmers who work hard to grow and make the things we eat and use on a daily basis but do not get treated or paid fairly. We want to put an end to this. Choose Fairtrade!

Join us for an exciting few weeks of Fairtrade Fortnight filled with different events. For more details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1265702060185233/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where can you buy Fairtrade roses in St Andrews?

Marks and Spencers:

St Andrews Simply Food, 23 Largo Road, St Andrews KY16 8NH

M and S sell a wide range of Fairtrade flowers. Why not drop by on your way home from work, or make it a nice addition to a dine in for two deal!

Sainsbury’s:

71 Market Street, St Andrews KY16 9NU

Ravine Roses

Sainsbury’s has supported Fairtrade Premium and a microfinance initiative to provide the local area with interest free loans for schools fees. Furthermore, Fairtrade Premium has funded the construction of a numerous amount of facilities across the local area, ensuring that workers have access to clean and safe water.

Primarosa Flowers

The Fairtrade Premium supports local projects to help education and healthcare systems develop. A number of projects have been set up in the local area including the vaccination of all workers against typhoid.

Co – operative:

Tom Stewart Lane, St Andrews KY16 8

All single stem roses are provided from Fairtrade farms in Kenya.

And remember it doesn’t just have to be Valentine’s Day when you buy flowers…..

A visit to the Eden Campus to see our Biomass District Heating

The Eden Campus Biomass District Heating Scheme located at Guardbridge is the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom. In late November the Biomass Energy Centre was awarded the Sustainable Development Award at the Scottish Green Energy Award, a trophy that now sits proudly at reception in College Gate. A week later our Principal, Professor Sally Mapstone, officially lit the district heating boiler and the Energy Centre was commissioned.

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Environmental Facilitators checking out the wood chips at the Energy Centre

From the beginning of this month the Biomass Energy Centre has been heating all of the buildings on the North Haugh and the halls of residence on that side of town, consuming 40 tonnes of wood per day. All of the buildings still have their gas boilers as a back-up; so there is no need to worry that an issue in one building could take the whole system down. This investment is a demonstration of the University’s commitment to sustainability and reduces our annual carbon footprint by 6,000 tonnes.

On the 26th of January, twenty-six Environmental Facilitators from the University of St Andrews were taken on a tour of the University’s Biomass Energy Centre located at the new Eden Campus in Guardbridge. David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager for the University of St Andrews, and David Raley from Vital Energi, led the tour, giving the Environmental Facilitators a fantastic insight into the inputs, processes and relevant outputs of this district heating scheme.

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Inside the main room – just look at all those pipes!

The Environmental Facilitator training programme aims to drive positive change within the workplace through the training and supporting staff to promote sustainable behaviours and find innovative ways to engage colleagues. The Environmental Facilitator training programme is open to all staff members and helps us reach our sustainability targets, including zero waste to landfill by 2020.

The University has invested in the highest quality products. Scandinavian series-3 insulation of the 23kms of piping means that water from the Eden Campus arrives in St Andrews only 1.5C lower than it left. A new innovation embedded with the pipes allows leaks to be detected and located to within a meter. The system can also cope with a wide range of humidity in the wood so that we can be flexible with our suppliers. Right now all of the wood is from forestry in Scotland and the University is looking to make this even more local going forward. This is part of the ‘Guardbridge Guarantee’, a commitment to the local economy, which is an ethos that pervades this entire development. In fact, despite importing the best Danish and Swedish manufactured technology, 73 percent of investment in construction stayed in Scotland.

Locally sourced wood chips ready to be used to generate heat for our buildings!

Locally sourced wood chips ready to be used to generate heat for our buildings!

The site has been designed to be able to accommodate tours, so if you want to know what 1,000C looks like or hear about how our biomass boiler operates get in touch with the Environment Team (environment@st-andrews.ac.uk) and we’ll organise a visit!

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David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager for the University of St Andrews, taking some of the Environmental Facilitators around the main room

 

Rescuing beds from landfill!

Did you know that since partnering with The Furniture Recycling Group (TFR Group) we have recycled over 2,000 mattresses duvets and pillows?

Every year, 4.3 million mattresses, including bedding, are sent to landfill in the UK alone. The University of St Andrews has an ambitious target to reach zero waste to landfill status by 2020. With support from companies including the TRF Group we are steadily making progress towards achieving this ambitious target, but what is a circular economy?

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Picture from WRAP

Circular economies strive for maximum resource productivity aiming to minimise the amount of waste produced from the resource by seeking to extract and regenerate materials before the resource comes to its end of life. Circular economy seeks to have sustainable processes throughout the life cycle with the intention that as little of the resource should be wasted as possible. This process intentionally, and critically, analyses the processes of production, use and disposal of a product or resource, and exposes areas in which companies or manufactures can improve on to aid a sustainable life cycle .

Why is it important?

In a world which is under threat by climate change, circular economies will not only drive innovative ideas and creativity, but also reduce the damaging impacts of landfill by increasing recycling and reuse rates. Reducing carbon footprints is only one benefit! Increasing circular economy within businesses can:

  • Reduce waste
  • Increase opportunities and growth
  • Reduce global environmental impacts
  • Increase productivity and innovation
  • Drive a competitive and sustainable economy
  • Drive regeneration rates
  • Create opportunities for employment
  • Boost global competitiveness

What does this mean for the University?

As the University strives for sustainability a switch to circular economy will not only help us in this process but help us to stand out as one of the leading higher education institutions for sustainable practice, process and delivery. Circular economies will enable us to nurture sustainable, and self-sufficient economic growth which will undeniably strengthen us as we seek to transition to a sustainable University.

A fantastic opportunity arose for the University to partner with The Furniture Recycling Group to recycle and reuse donated mattresses, duvets and pillows. Donation points were set up in each hall of residence at the end of the academic year and students were encouraged to drop off any unwanted mattresses, duvets and pillows. The bedding was picked up by the company and processed and recycled the materials. These materials were then passed on to R&R beds who used them to fill new mattresses.

This is just one fantastic example of a circular economy within the UK. Watch this space to see how we implement and drive circular economy infrastructure in the coming year….

A new year! A new greener you?

Happy new year!

At the beginning of every year many people around the world make New Year’s resolutions to drink more water, read more literature, visit a new country – the list could go on. Have you ever considered making a Green New Year’s Resolution? Here is your chance to consider changing something in your life to help protect and conserve our planet!

Making a difference doesn’t mean doing all these things at once. Why not try changing one thing every couple of months. Living more sustainably should be easy and enjoyable, and not a burden! You might even find that by following some of these 10 steps you will notice over health and fitness benefits, and savings!

Let us know if you decide to take on a Green New Year’s Resolution, we always love to hear from you.

In your spare time:

Green Resolution 1

Join Transition!

transition

Transition Universities seek to promote sustainable behaviours, ways of living and scholarship on campus’ and in local communities. St Andrews Transition is a fantastic, welcoming and diverse community of people who are striving for low carbon ways of living through practical and creative ideas and activities. Why not consider joining this community in one of their projects whether that be with Bike Pool, Edible Campus, SkillShare, StAndRe-Use, Carbon Conversations or The Tree!

Green Resolution 2

Become an environmental champion!

If you are passionate about saving and protecting the environment, why not consider becoming and Environmental Champion, and help others to change their attitudes and ways of life to benefit our surrounding environments. The Environmental Facilitators network training is open the St Andrews’ University staff and equips you with the knowledge and understanding to make a difference in your workplace through personal changes and interactions with colleagues. If you would like to learn more please email environment@st-andrews.ac.uk or click this link.

What you eat:

Green Resolution 3

Eat less meat

Now, we aren’t saying that everyone should become vegetarian right away! By cutting down on the amount of meat you eat, even by having one or two meat free days a week, you could reduce your carbon footprint! It is estimated that 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water goes into a single pound of beef! Maybe it’s time to consider going meatless on Mondays? Try this website for some inspiration: http://www.meatlessmonday.com/. Remember, when you do eat make sure it comes from a high standard welfare farm!

Green Resolution 4

Switch to Fairtrade

Fairtrade is fundamental to changing the lives of farmers’ and workers’ lives for the better. Fairtrade is an international movement primarily focused on improving trading conditions for farmers across the world. Fairtrade products taste wonderful too from chocolate, to bananas to coffee, the product range is expanding! Look out for the symbol when you next go to shop, and purchase knowing that your money is going to those who have grown in it for your enjoyment.

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As a Fairtrade University we recognise the impact we have on producers and communities throughout the world, and therefore are committed to increasing the use and sale of Fairtrade products across our campus. The University’s Fairtrade Steering Group is committed to engaging with staff and students to increase the awareness of the benefits Fairtrade brings to farmers across the world through social, environmental and security sustainability. If you want to join the Steering Group for St Andrews’ University email us at fairtrade@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Green Resolution 5

Think local

Try sourcing your food from local shops instead of buying from large supermarkets. This will help support local businesses and reduce the miles your food travels from farm to plate. Here in St Andrews we have a multitude of different stores selling fresh, local produce and we also have the local farmer’s market which meets on the first Saturday of every month: http://www.fifefarmersmarket.co.uk/st-andrews-farmers-market.html

  • Kerachers, Fishmonger, 73 South Street, St Andrews
  • Minick of St Andrews, Butcher, 47 Bell Street, St Andrews
  • John Birrell, Fruit and vegetables, 201 South Street, St Andrews

Travel:

Green Resolution 6

Holiday locally

I know everyone loves to jet off on holiday across the world in search of some sun, vitamin D and temperatures that go above 20 degrees during the summer months! But, have you ever thought about exploring the country you call home? Scotland has some beautiful nooks and crannies ready to be discovered! Beaches off the coast of the west of Scotland can often be mistaken for the Bahamas with the mountains in the Highlands offering stunning views over deep valleys. Follow this link to get your holiday planning started: https://www.visitscotland.com/holidays-breaks/.

Green Resolution 7

Switch to renewable forms of transport

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How do you travel to work? How much travel do you do each week? One of the ways in which we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint is by switching to renewable forms of transport ie. walking, cycling, electric cars or switching to using public transport. For many, walking or cycling to work is a very viable option yet there are multiple factors stopping us from doing it. This year, why not give it a go once or twice a week and see the benefits to both your health but also your working day! For more information on bikes in St Andrews, E Car club and car share please follow the links.

In your home:

Green Resolution 8

Make your home more energy efficient by changing your light bulbs to LED bulbs, stall reflective radiator panels and using window insulation film and see your bills plummet!

Green Resolution 9

Reduce, reuse and recycle more!

Consider areas that you think you are particularly wasteful and see if you can find creative and innovative ways to reduce your waste in 2017! Why not invest in a reusable water bottle and stop buying new ones? The University sells Keep Cups for hot and cold drinks, and if you use one in our cafes you’ll receive a discount. Pop a reusable bag in your car or handbag to escape those 5p bag charges at the supermarket and help reduce the amount of plastic bags in our environments! If you are student in St Andrews a fantastic way to kit out your student flat is to come along to StAndReUse giveaways at the start of every year! One of our team picked up a Christmas tree, lights and baubles for her flat this year!

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Green Resolution 10

Try making your own compost

Do you have a garden? Do you use store – bought fertilizers? Making your own compost is not time consuming and may save you money in the long run, and is a wonderful way to recycle old plant based material. Follow the link here to find out you can make your own compost: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/soil_makecompost1.shtml.