Waste produced on our campuses comes from a wide range of sources due to the diverse nature of our activities. Reducing our consumption and recycling what we can is key to reducing our impact. Last year our waste contractor Veolia collected 485 tonnes of waste (including recycling). Our aims for waste and recycling are explained in our Sustainability Sub Strategy, but here are a few examples of how teams from across the University are helping us to achieve our targets by successfully reducing their waste.

Student Services

Student Services are saving resources by streamlining the registration card process for healthcare students. Rather than issuing both registration and placement cards to students, students can now use their registration card on placement. This means that the team have been able to reduce the order of plastic cards, ink ribbon, staff time (each card takes about 20 seconds to print) and workload.

They have reduced the number of cards by more than 800 since launching this new process in 2020, which shows how even small decisions can have a big impact on a team’s environmental footprint.

Soft FM

Soft FM are doing fantastic things in the way of ‘reduce’. In 2015 they set up a partnership with the British Heart Foundation. Since then, students in university and private owned student accommodation have donated tonnes of items raising money for the charity through the ‘Pack for good’ campaign that is run every year. In 2021 12 tonnes was diverted from landfill – that’s the equivalent of 60.492kg CO2 emissions. To date students have donated up to £205,354 worth of items.

Cleaning and Portering

The Cleaning and Portering teams use an environmentally friendly product range called InnuScience, and they now use refillable trigger spray bottles to further reduce waste where possible. Any unused chemicals are collected by our supplier and disposed of, and unused products are removed from site and sustainably recycled. For example, we donated a large amount of white board cleaner to local schools and colleges.  The team are continuing to review their product range, and at the moment they are trialing a new all purpose cleaner which could potentially replace several individual cleaning products.

Have you completed a project which reduces your departments environmental impact? We would love to hear from you. Email us sustainability@essex.ac.uk

This blog is part of a series which we will be showcasing what departments are doing in their areas to embed sustainability and reduce their environmental impact.