Cheese or Chocolate?

We know that cigarette ends getting discarded on the ground looks unsightly but it also has an impact on wildlife and the natural environment. As a University, we (officially!) have one of the best green spaces in the country and we are committed to keeping it that way. To encourage people to dispose of their cigarette ends responsibly, we are trialling new ballot bins. These new bins pose a question and allow smokers to vote on what they think! These have been used effectively in other areas of the country and we are looking forward to seeing the results of some of the sillier research we are going to get up to at the University. Do let us know what you think of them by emailing us at sustainability@reading.ac.uk. We've had 2 installed, one is outside the URS entrance and one is next to Old Whiteknights House. We'll keep people updated via Twitter on the results. This week, its cheese vs chocolate. Whats...
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Green Gown Award win for Carbon Reduction

We’re proud to be awarded winner in this year’s carbon reduction category at the EAUC’s Green Gown Awards, recognising our significant achievements in delivering a 35%* reduction in our emissions across the University. Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the UK and Ireland. With sustainability moving up the agenda, the Awards have become established as the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the further and higher education sector. The ethos of the awards is to celebrate, share and promote the outstanding sustainability leadership, management and best practice initiatives from tertiary education in the UK. The judges described Reading’s entry as “A very comprehensive carbon reduction project producing significant savings. Students have been integral to achieving a 35% reduction in carbon emissions in an imaginative way.” How did we achieve it? The approach we have taken doesn’t focus on one technology or action but rather a large number of complementary...
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Cycle skills and safety project

 The University is working with Avanti Cycling in a bid to encourage staff and students to ensure you have the right knowledge, skills and equipment to keep yourselves and others safe while cycling on campus and on the roads.We’re offering free cycle training at a variety of different levels – from complete beginners who need to learn to ride a bike safely, through road tips for experienced cyclists, to experienced foreign cyclists who may just need a top-up on UK road laws. We’re also offering free cycle lights to everyone who takes part! Most people’s thought when they hear ‘cycle training’ is ‘that’s for kids’ or ‘for people who can’t ride a bike’, or ‘boring’. Please let us prove those thoughts wrong! We promise you if you’ve never taken cycle training as an adult you will definitely learn something, and have fun at the same time. What have you got to lose? We’ll even throw in a set of cycle lights...
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University leads the way in reducing carbon emissions

The University of Reading has been ranked as one of the best universities in the country for reducing its environmental impacts.  In Brite Green’s lastest University Carbon Reduction Report, the University ranks: 5th for overall carbon emissions reductions 2nd for annual carbon reductions 2nd greatest reduction in carbon emissions per £ income We are proud of our achievements in reducing our carbon footprint; being the best research-intensive university in the country for delivering absolute reductions.  Brite Green’s report underlines our success as a sector leader, and we are particularly pleased to have made the 2nd best annual reductions (from 2014/15 – 2015/16) of any university in England. We are committed to continuing this progress, and plan to invest a further £6.2 million in meeting our next carbon and water reduction targets by July 2021.  Our new Carbon & Water Management Plan Summary provides a quick overview of what we’ve got planned in the coming years.         Footnote: The University’s own carbon reporting includes a...
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New drinks machines provide free water and cut plastic waste

University students and staff will help stop more than half a million plastic bottles being thrown away every year with the introduction of new drinks machines around campus. The University of Reading is becoming the first university in the UK to introduce new vending machines designed to provide healthier drink choices and cut the volume of plastic waste on campus. Around 650,000 plastic bottled drinks are used across the University’s Whiteknights and London Road campuses each year. To reduce the volume of plastic used on campus, the University is this week launching the Sustain It bottle – a reusable bottle that uses technology to offer students and staff a range of vending machine drinks. The Sustain It bottle contains a microchip that allows users to pre-pay for drinks either in multiples of 10 (£12) or unlimited use for an academic term (£39.95). Most of these will be zero and low-calorie options. Free filtered water will also be available at each machine, allowing students and staff...
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Q and A with Abi, our summer intern

This summer, Abi worked to raise awareness of the University’s new Waste Strategy including the new 60% recycling target. This included upgrading recycling facilities across ten buildings on campus, communicating with staff and students and investigate waste and recycling issues across campus. What did your role involved? As a Junior Sustainability Officer, I created a communication plan to engage with staff and students about upgrading facilities across campus. From Health & Safety’s input into the floorplans, porters’ assistance in moving newly unpacked and labelled bins and talking to staff during our recycling roadshows- this internship has taught me the importance of communication across all services and departments. In addition to co-ordinating distribution of stock, I also undertook investigative tasks across campus such as resolving recycling from sports pitches and a fall in Foxhill House’s recycling rate. Whilst putting our Sherlock caps on, we managed to form both temporary and permanent solution for this and other scenarios. What have you gained from this experience? A vast...
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Environmental Fund – Success Story!

In March 2017, the Old Whiteknights House Green team were the successful recipients of money from an environmental fund, set up to support staff and students to undertake green projects important to them. Their project looked to encourage staff and students to get involved with a small kitchen garden they proposed to plant in the grounds of their building. The benefits of this were two-fold, to engage people with a very tangible environmental project near to their place of study/work but also to increase well-being with gardening a proven way to improve people's level of happiness. Over the last month, during the fantastic weather we've been having, Helen and Nicky have been out purchasing plants and getting them planted outside the building. All the plants that have been chosen are ones that can be used in the kitchen, another way to engage and interest people. Since planting, they've both been engaging mint tea from their very own kitchen garden! If you are interested...
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How did we achieve our 35% carbon reduction target?

We are delighted to announce that the University has cut its carbon emissions by 35%!!! This has produced a saving of £17 million over a five year period and means we have cut our annual carbon emissions from 44,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2008/09 to just over 28,500 tonnes per year now. The total carbon saved over the five year period is 63,000 tonnes, which equates to just over two years’ worth of the University’s current carbon emissions. This achievement puts the University among the top institutions in the country for reducing its carbon emissions. It demonstrates the University’s commitment to delivering against its environmental commitments and makes Reading a leader in the sector for action on climate change. The big question is, how have we done it? Since 2010, the University has been working hard to deliver on this commitment. Over £4 million has been invested into projects across the University to improve the efficiency of our buildings and operations. The infographic below...
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Green Festival 2016 – A look back…

Last week the University celebrated all things sustainable with its first Green Festival. Running from Wednesday 16 – Saturday 19 November there were a number of events including tours of the University’s state of the art energy centre, a careers event for students to explore environmental jobs and the ever popular Blackout event. We are delighted to say that many of the events were over-subscribed, demonstrating the passion and enthusiasm staff and students have at the University for green issues. During the week over 50 staff and students visited joined one of the Energy Centre or Carrington building tours and 60 students listened to professionals from companies such as AECOM, Thames Water and Barratt Homes explain what it’s like to work in the sector. The week finished with the Blackout where over 90 staff and students came together to audit buildings across Whiteknights and London Rd to see what has been left on, switching off anything it was safe to do so....
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