‘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

 

Where are they now? Part 2

Every year the Environment Team gains a new Sustainability Intern whose position last for a year. This internship provides the incredible opportunity to work for the University of St Andrews Estates Environment Team, helping to support, develop and implement the sustainability agenda across the campus. Over a series of blogs we have invited some of our interns to answer a few questions about their time as Sustainability Intern and what they have being doing since finishing the position. Meet Sarah Duley who was with the Environment Team from 2012 -2013

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What was your favourite part of your role as Sustainability Officer?

I loved my time at St Andrews as an undergraduate studying Sustainable Development, so I was really excited to stay on for another as Sustainability Officer in the Estates team. It turned out to be, as expected, another fantastic year in St Andrews and a great way to begin a career in sustainability.

I think one of the highlights of working in the Environment Team that has to be the location – to walk to work along East Sands or pop out for a lunchtime stroll along the coast, or even the occasional post-work dip in the sea was a delight (especially now working in the centre of Edinburgh where open space is harder to find at lunchtime!). In terms of the role though, my highlight would probably be the work I undertook around sustainable food.

Was there a particular highlight of your year within the Environment Team?

I worked with the University’s catering team to develop a Sustainable Food Policy for the University amongst other food related projects from food waste in halls alongside Transition or chairing the Fairtrade Steering Group. This part of the work was not only incredibly interesting but it has led me to where I am today.

Do you think you were particularly sustainable before the role? How did your attitudes to the environment and your own behaviours change over the year?

I believe I was already relatively ‘environmentally friendly’ before beginning the role but I definitely didn’t have such an awareness and understanding of how food impacts on all areas of environmental, social and economic sustainability or how a powerful a tool it can be for change. Whilst working in the Environment Team I began to realise the power of food as a way of engaging people in sustainability and as a solution to many other sustainability challenges. Food is universally necessary, interesting and emotive. It means something to everyone and the way we eat – from farm to fork – impacts on the world around us immeasurably.

Tell us what you have been up to since finishing your position as Sustainability Intern!

I have been working at the Soil Association in Scotland for the last couple of years on a programme called Food for Life Scotland, which is funded by the Scottish Government, and aims to make good food the easy choice for everyone in Scotland. Good food holds the key to healthier people, a thriving economy and a greener environment – something I learnt during my time in St Andrews. My role involves working directly with caterers across the public and private sector in Scotland to help them to develop more sustainable menus and supply chains. We use the Food for Life Served Here (formerly Catering Mark) award certification to support this and currently over 20 million Food for Life meals are served across Scotland annually, across schools, universities, care homes, workplaces and visitor attractions. I get to travel across Scotland and meet some of the fantastic people working in our public kitchens – and it is great to have been able to build on my experiences as a Sustainability Officer!

It’s been wonderful to follow the work of the Environment Team, and Transition, since I moved to Edinburgh and I’ve been very excited to see the Guardbridge project move to fruition. All the best to everyone!

 

 

Where are they now?

Every year the Environment Team gains a new Sustainability Intern whose position last for a year. This internship provides the incredible opportunity to work for the University of St Andrews Estates Environment Team, helping to support, develop and implement the sustainability agenda across the campus. Over a series of blogs we have invited some of our interns to answer a few questions about their time as Sustainability Intern and what they have being doing since finishing the position. First up we have Lynsey Smith who was with the Environment Team from 2014 to 2015.

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What was your favourite part of your role as Sustainability Officer?

The people! The role requires you to work with lots of different people: students, university staff, colleagues at other institutions, members of the community and other external stakeholders. It is a great feeling when you are working together towards a common goal, and I was very inspired and motivated by the fantastic ideas generated by our students to help build a more sustainable St Andrews.

Was there a particular highlight of your year within the Environment Team?

Green Week and Fairtrade Fortnight were real highlights of my time in the Environment Team. We spent so long planning and preparing for all the activities that it was really rewarding to see so many students, staff, and members of the community getting involved in the work that we do and showing their support by taking the time out of their day to attend our events.

Do you think you were particularly sustainable before the role? How did your attitudes to the environment and your own behaviours change over the year you were with the team?

I think I was relatively sustainable before I took on the role, but there is always room for improvement! Holding the position of “Sustainability Officer” certainly makes you a lot more aware of your own behaviours and actions, and when trying to implement behaviour change across an institution, looking at your own actions is often a very good place to start.

What do you think the University’s strongest asset/project/policy is in it’s pursuit for sustainability?

Again…the people! As a whole, I think our University community is very passionate about the local environment, and a huge number of fantastic initiatives have stemmed from the desire to make St Andrews greener and greater. By nurturing this enthusiasm and with the right support I believe we can make St Andrews an even more sustainable institution.

Tell us what you have been up to since finishing your position as Sustainability Intern!

Since my contract ended I have remained in St Andrews, but now work in the Admissions unit as an Education Liaison Officer. My job involves a lot of travel to meet prospective students, tell them about St Andrews, and offer advice and guidance on the application process. As a unit we are very aware of the impact our business travel has on the environment, but it is very encouraging to see us using alternative means of connecting with students when possible (e.g. Skype sessions and webinars) and alternative methods of transport (rail travel is encouraged, and we use E-Cars for travel to local events).

Do you have any green new year’s resolutions for 2017?

Because I undertake so much business travel I am trying to keep my personal travel carbon to a minimum. I invested in a huge travel guide full of ideas for places to visit in the UK and have a couple of “staycations” planned for this year so that I can explore more of what is right on our doorstep!

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.

A year in the life of the University’s Environment Team

The Environment Team 2015/2016

The Environment Team 2015/2016

It has certainly been a very busy year for the University of St Andrews’ Environment Team. The team have been consistently hard at work throughout the year with the University seeing an overall carbon emissions reduction by 8% compared to 2014/15, water consumption reduction by 4% and with reuse by from 2% to 4%! Throughout the year, Amanda our BEMS Engineer, has been working towards the successful completion of BEMS rationalisation and Siemens graphics which are now online for 50 of our buildings. We have also seen a change of Sustainability Officer when George King finished his post in the summer and Lindsey Mackay taking the position on at the start of August.

The team strives for sustainability across the whole of the University and we would like to thank all the departments and people who have worked alongside us this year to make it a success. We look forward to entering 2017 to tackle new challenges and continue to work hard to ensure that the future of the University, and its surrounded environments, are protected.

Here is a brief snapshot of some of the main projects we have been up to this year:

February

Guardbridge Park and Pedal Scheme

To help mitigate against travel disruption and to encourage the use of sustainable travel to and from work, the Environment Team and Transition operated a successful park and pedal scheme during road closures.

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March

Green Links Biodiversity Project

As part of the on-going work around The Open and sustainability the R&A will work on a number of local legacy projects from the 2015 Championship in St Andrews. Three projects have been agreed for funding to be delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful, the University of St Andrews and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust.  The R&A would like to meet with various stakeholders to discuss opportunities around biodiversity related projects and have formed a discussion group to explore potential opportunities for collaboration and resource sharing in this area. Work with the University includes a Green Links map and noticeboards to advertise biodiversity hotspots around St Andrews.

April

Green Awards

This year we saw the introduction of the Green Society’s Award in collaboration with the Students’ Association which seeks to engage societies with sustainability and environmentally friendly behaviours. This year’s winners were St Andrews Adventure Group for their commitment to using electric cars throughout the year. The annual Green Sports Award went to the Canoe Club, winning £100.

August

Adaption to Climate Change

Continued work on University documents for Adaptation to Climate Change in order to ensure we are prepared for the impacts of climate change and to improve the resilience of the whole University as part of the Adaptation Learning Exchange (ALE). Adaptation Scotland are using the University of St Andrews as a case study for the rest of the sector, with staff and senior managers of Estates undertaking a climate impact assessment workshop. You can read the final document here.

September

Freshers’ Week: Welcome to the Green Bubble

Every year, when the students arrive back after the summer holidays, the centre of St Andrews gets busier and so does work within the University. This year Transition put on a huge array of exciting events including StAndRe-Use. The Environment Team were present to help out at various events and we had our own information stalls at the Green Fayre and Freshers’ Fayre, aiming to engage with students and let them know about our crucial work on campus. A full, fun filled but exhausting week!

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Environment Hall Reps

Within every hall on the University of St Andrews’ campus there are committees made up of students and wardens. Environmental Hall Reps make up a crucial part of each hall committee and whose role includes helping to reduce energy bills and costs throughout the year whilst promoting environmentally sustainable behaviours to their student bodies. At the end of September we held our annual training which was a great success and since then we have begun the Interhall Energy Competition and seen activities in halls including, Light Switch Off parties, environmentally friendly selfie competitions and Fairtrade quizzes.

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October

Sustainability Manager

We now have our first Sustainability Manager! As of October, David Stutchfield, formally our Energy Officer, has now been promoted to Sustainability Manager within Estates. His roles will remain the same as before, but with a few extra important jobs added on.

University Fairtrade Status Renewal

Every two years the University requires its University Fairtrade Status to be renewed which involves collecting information on Fairtrade activities and outreach on campus, and looking at products sold across campus. We are delighted to announce that after a successful application, we have renewed our Fairtrade status for another two years with many more Fairtrade events coming your way in Fairtrade Fortnight 2017! Watch this space!

One of our Hall Environment Representatives helps spread the word about Fairtrade!

One of our Hall Environment Representatives helps spread the word about Fairtrade!

Green Raisin Competition

Raisin Weekend is a well-known tradition associated with St Andrews University, where academic families host an array of events and parties for their ‘children’, ending in a spectacular foam fight. The Green Raisin Competition encourages families to dress up their children in environmentally friendly costumes, with the idea that they reuse items instead of buying new things! This year we saw a fantastic array of costumes enter the foam fight with our winners being a Viking ship. The winning family receive an adventure kindly given by Blown Away Adventures!

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Environmental Facilitators

We held our first training of the academic year for the Environmental Facilitator programme for being interested in working within their departments and units to promote, champion and support environmentally friendly behaviours amongst their teams and making their colleagues aware of the impact they have. With help from CAPOD, we hosted a networking event with representatives from E-Car and Electric Bike Scotland coming to speak to us over lunch. Later in the afternoon we had a demonstration of the electric bikes with the chance to try one out for ourselves!

November

Resource Efficiency

The amount of landfill has increased from 641 tonnes to 750 tonnes with % recycling down from 73% to 68% (academic year 2015/16) however reuse has increased from 2% to 4% (14 to 32 tonnes) which is significant and highlights the University’s efforts to move waste management up the waste hierarchy. In the past academic year we have also collected and baled an additional 20 tonnes of cardboard for recycling. Over 1500 items of bedding (duvets and pillows) were collected to be deconstructed and reused as fill for new mattresses. This is a fantastic example of circular economy which the University and the Environment Team are aiming to implement and encompass within its various processes, in order to reduce waste and increase resource productivity.

Resource efficiency was implemented through a number of positive initiatives including supplier takeback schemes and WARPit – a resources redistribution scheme for staff. To date this has saved 107 tonnes of carbon by diverting waste from landfill and saved £187k on reduced procurement spend. End of Term donation points were also set up in Halls of Residence and collections carried out for student society StAndRe-Use, Barnados Books, Glenrothes Food Bank and local charity Forces Support. 17 tonnes of material was donated to Forces Support including clothing, shoes and crockery.

December

Eden Campus

December was a very exciting month for the Environment Team and the University of St Andrews. The Eden Campus biomass district heating centre was awarded the Sustainable Development Award at the Scottish Green Energy Awards! Furthermore, a week later the biomass district heating boiler was officially lit by our Principal and commissioned!

 

 

Merry #greenChristmas

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The festive break is a time for friends and family to gather together and celebrate the year that has past and all that we have to be thankful for, and perhaps eat a little too much. However, amongst all the merriness of the holidays there are some important things that we all should remember. According to WRAP the amount of Christmas wrapping paper thrown away every year in the UK could stretch to the moon! Although this is an impressive statistic, there is something deeply concerning about this figure. We all have the responsibility to do something about it, but this doesn’t mean we to be Scrooges. So how can we still enjoy the festive period in sustainable ways?

This festive period, the UK will generate millions of tonnes of rubbish that can be saved from going to landfill. Aside from recycling, there are some fun, creative and hassle free ways of saving and reusing those spare turkey trimmings, wrapping paper and cards. We have compiled a Green Christmas Guide to help you start planning what to do with your left overs and to inspire you to think beyond Christmas Day to how we might conserve our planet during the busy festive period.

The #greenChristmas Guide

Christmas trees

Your Christmas tree can be recycled! Most councils will pick up your Christmas tree for you to be composted so be sure to check out your local councils’ website for specific details.

Fairy lights

Using LED lights to decorate your home will not only reduce your energy usage by up to 90% compared to traditional lights, but also save you money on your utility bills. Remember to turn the lights off before going to bed to avoid wasting energy.

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations can be expensive to buy on top of everything else at Christmas. Why not try making some of your own decorations by using some these effective ideas: http://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/crafts/recycled/projects/5-recycled-christmas-decorations-crafts.htm.

Christmas cards and wrapping paper

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We all know how many cards come through our letter boxes, and the dreaded feeling we have when we remember that we’ve forgotten to send someone a card, but can’t quite remember who. We all know too well the huge mound of wrapping paper in the middle of the room at the end of the day, but it all doesn’t have to be thrown away to landfill. Wrapping paper can be recycled, or if you are a neat person you could try and reuse it the following year! Cards can also be recycled but check out these fun and creative ways of reusing them:

  • Cut off the side of the card with the picture to make present name tags that can be used the following year. Use a whole punch and some ribbon to tie!
  • Cards can make lovely little gift boxes! Check out this link for more details http://www.kinderart.com/recycle/cardbox.shtml
  • Make some Christmas confetti for the table for the following year by cutting out small shapes from your cards’ designs

Gifts

If you receive something you already have, or if you have that family member who is particularly bad at choosing presents don’t throw it away! Perhaps in time you will come to love that present or find a use for it? Otherwise, why not think about donating it to a charity shop or to a friend who may have always really wanted those socks your grandmother knitted you!

Food

Every year during the Christmas holidays we eat too much, yet every year we inevitably leftovers, but what should we do with it all? Now is the time to plan what you want to do with your leftovers and when you want to eat them. And, leftovers CAN be delicious! Did you know that brandy butter makes an excellent ingredient when making sweet short crust pastry! Weigh and use the label to calculate how much butter is contained in what you have left. For more exciting and yummy recipes follow the link: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/christmas-leftovers.

Glass and Cans

Remember you can recycle glass and cans! From wine bottles to cans of beer, to jars of cranberry sauce to cans of tinned tomatoes, make sure you recycle recycle recycle this Christmas and New Year.

 

Winter Shutdown 2016: Switch Down and Shut Off!

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This winter break help us to meet our carbon reduction targets, and reduce costs to the University over the break! The Winter Shutdown is a University wide campaign for all on campus to make students and staff aware of the importance of leaving offices/workspaces and University halls of residence correctly. We are striving to become a sustainable University and one of the key elements of this movement is behaviour change. The Winter Shutdown campaign by the Environment Team aims to make all on campus aware of the effects that we have on energy consumption in the University and in time the amount of money we spend on energy bills. Furthermore, we hope to make everyone aware that through a set of four simple steps (outlined below) we can easily and effectively make individual differences!

One of the largest ways that the University wastes energy, which in time increases our bills, is by people on campus leaving lights on, computers and other electrical running over the break. This winter 2016 we would really appreciate your help in making sure you follow these steps closely before you leave, and ensuring your colleagues and friends do the same.

All staff:

Check all rooms in your building for the following:

  • Switch of ALL lights (including Christmas tree)
  • Switch off ALL electrical appliances, at the wall
  • Turn radiators down to ‘1’ setting or set thermostats to star
  • Leave nothing on standby
    • Computers
    • Photocopies/printers/scanners
    • Fans, heaters
    • Water coolers
    • Kettle, microwave etc.
    • Vending/coffee machines
  • Ensure windows are closed and blinds/curtains are closed (to keep heat in)

Academic building:

Equipment to think about switching off, if not being used over the break

  • Ovens
  • Centrifuges
  • Gas Chromatographs
  • Fume cupboards

All students:

Before leaving your room in University halls of residence for the festive break please remember to:

  • switch off ALL electrical appliances at the wall
  • switch off ALL lights
  • turn down radiators to “1” or set thermostats to star
  • do not leave anything on standby
  • close curtains

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