Welcome, class of 2021!

With the academic year fast approaching we are excited to welcome a new cohort of students to University of St Andrews. It could be overwhelming for some when moving to a new place and learning your way around town. This is why as a recent graduate our sustainability intern, Mariya Simeonova, is here to offer some advice about how you can foster a low-carbon way of living as soon as you arrive in St Andrews.

Hello and welcome, class of 2021! I know you must be equal parts excited and terrified about starting this new chapter of your life, and I would try to ease the load a bit by providing you with some handy and very concise information about everything sustainable in St Andrews.

Grocery Shopping and Cooking

Many of you will be in catered halls, however, in case of getting tired of take-aways on weekend nights, here are some tips for grocery shopping and food preparation.

Most grocery shops in town offer a variety of organic, and fairtrade products at affordable prices, so you are spoiled for choice. There also are many locally-owned shops offering regional and local food with minimal packaging, resulting in a lower carbon footprint. Further, Transition University of St Andrews runs a non-profit online and pop-up shop for affordable local, organic and fairtrade produce called The Tree, so make sure to check their website.

When it comes to food preparation, chopping the produce into small pieces, allows for a faster cooking process and less energy consumption. Transition also offer various Skillshare events on how to cook and prepare food staples such as bread, chocolate and hummus, which you would otherwise buy from the store with all the packaging they come in.

Travel

Moving on to the topic of commute, most University halls and buildings are within a walking distance from each other and the town centre. Yet, if you are based at DRA or Albany Park, you might be tempted every once in a while to call a taxi. Yet, there are so many cheaper and more sustainable options for you to consider.

Walking

Walking is not only a great exercise but it also stimulates creativity and mindfulness. Plus the beautiful wildlife and architecture you come across when exploring St Andrews on foot is worth the walk! If you live in DRA for example and would like to do some grocery shopping, why not take a short cut through Lade Braes and head over to Aldi, Morrison or M&S?

Cycling

Cycling is a great way to travel carbon-free, and we work hard on ever-improving the cycling infrastructure in and around St Andrews. You can purchase a bicycle at some of the bike sales organised during Freshers’ Week, and cycling lights and robust bike locks can be found at a cost-price form the University Shop – just go in and ask for them as they are not on display. And if you miss the bike sale at the beginning of the academic year, fear not! Transition runs a bike hire scheme, lending bicycles equipped with everything you might need.

Longer distance

If you would like to explore North-East Fife or even further, why not take advantage of your student discount and buy a week pass for public transport. The bus station is very central, the route network is good and you get free WiFi on board! And, in case you need to travel further afield, Leuchars railway station is just 20 minutes away by bus.

Electric vehicles

Our university has partnered with E-car to create our very own car club! If you want to explore a route,not serviced by public transport, are moving house, or need a car for any other reason, we’ve got you covered! Our car club has a fleet of ten all-electric vehicles and a network of charging stations across campus, all at your disposal for an affordable price.

How to get involved

There is such a wide variety of environmentally-themed student societies and local organisation, that we even have our very own Green Fayre at the start of Fresher’s Week. If you would like to meet our team and the rest of the ‘green’ societies and organisations, on Monday 11th September come along to the lawn, located between the University Library and the International Relations Building. There will be lots of friendly people to meet and chat with, live music, lots of freebies and maybe even some delicious food!

In conclusion…

For the purpose of brevity, this post doesn’t even begin to cover all the sustainable initiatives taking place across campus and the opportunities and amenities you have at your disposal. Hopefully I didn’t overwhelm you and will get the chance to chat about sustainability with some of you at Green Fayre!

The New Sustainability Intern

This week the Environment Team welcomed their new Sustainability Intern, Mariya Simeonova, to the team.

Mariya recently graduated from the University of St Andrews with Geography and Management (BSc JH). She is looking forward to taking over and developing the projects that Lindsey Mackay, the previous Sustainability Intern, has been working hard on over the past year. Having spent four years studying about sustainability and environmental management, Mariya is keen to apply that knowledge to her new role and contribute to the University’s sustainability agenda.

Over the next year, Mariya will be concentrating on outreach and engagement with the student community, university staff and local residents. Mariya’s main role consist in collaborating with university departments and units on sustainability initiatives such as the Environmental Facilitators Network, Fairtrade and the annual Travel Survey. Further, she will be working alongside Transition and student societies to deliver a calendar of environmentally-themed events including Green Fayre, Green Week and Fairtrade Fortnight.

She will also support the other members of the team: David Stutchfield (Sustainability Manager) and Barbara Aitken (Environment Officer) on their projects and the development of the university’s wider sustainability agenda.

You can stay up to date with what the Environment Team are working on through their Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

If you would like to get in contact with Mariya directly please don’t hesitate to send her an email at mps5@st-andrews.ac.uk

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Building the foundations for a greener future

This week we discuss green infrastructure and how estates and the management of buildings, both within the university setting and across the globe, has a huge potential to decrease carbon footprints within universities and businesses alike. Over the past year our blogs have been written by our current Sustainability Intern, Lindsey Mackay. We look forward to welcoming our new intern, Mariya Simeonova, who will be taking over from Lindsey and starting her new position with us in the Environment Team at the beginning of August.

Over the past month or so the university campus has been very quiet. With classes over for the summer and students gone on holidays the university may seem like it has slowed down, however behind closed staff continue to work hard as we strive to make the university a better place. The Environment Team have been hard at work compiling data together for our annual end of year reporting. Data analysed will give the university a solid idea of how much energy has been using over the past academic year and the volumes of different types of waste that the university has produced.

One of the main ways in which the university can reduce and lower its carbon footprint is through the design and management of its buildings. Since buildings currently account for 40% of global energy consumption, organisations, businesses and estates have the chance of making real, tangible change for the benefit of our environment. Our vision is to become a carbon neutral campus, not only because we aim to become a leader within environmental sustainability, but because increasing numbers of prospective students across the world are making critical decisions on which universities they are applying to based on what how committed the university is to sustainability and the environment.

Within the university we strive for sustainability by driving down energy demands, production of waste being sent to landfill, with a strong focus on societal impacts and how overall financial savings can benefit the long term future of the university. These are all areas that are currently under consideration as we look towards updating the Carbon Management Plan. Our vision for planning and strategy development is to reflect current conditions and services, facilitate employee engagement in the development of plans, and formulate realistic targets which can be met by placing appropriate facilities and resources that encourage campus wide changes and conscious movements towards sustainability. The journey to carbon neutrality can also include low cost initiatives which use small, every day, behaviour changes which can have significant impact. We encourage our staff and students to get involved in any way they can, whether that be turning down thermostats in halls of residence or turning off electrical appliances before they leave the office at the end of the day.

We were proud earlier in the year to have been awarded Cycle Friendly Campus with Distinction and we believe that this is just one way in which we are showing our commitment to positive change. The award recognises many different factors, however one of the main priorities is the provision of services and facilities, including bike shelters and training, available to staff members and students. This award has also helped to shape and direct the writing and planning of the university’s Travel Strategy which aims to guide future infrastructure and development. By targeting the needs of staff and students, using informed baselines we hope to encourage everyone to consider how they get to work and whether they could make a small change with the vision of large benefits.

If you would like to learn more about the university’s plans for updating our Carbon Management Plan and other related strategies please email environment@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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…..