Sustainable university living

I’ve escaped from my desk to come and sit in Park Eat café/bar to write this article. Immediately I arrive, I’m confronted with an environmental dilemma. I’ve brought my Sustain It mug (of course!) for a cup of tea, but realise I can’t get any milk out of the machine because my cup isn’t chipped. The catering staff offer to put some milk in a paper cup. I insist I don’t want a paper cup and they insist it’s no bother. How should I respond? Back down politely and take the cup, or stick to my green guns and insist it’s a waste of resources and I’d rather have no milk? I decide to politely explain I don’t want to take a disposable cup, she understands and helpful gets me a china cup to put the milk in instead. An insignificant story, and the kind of decision we each make multiple times a day. My point though is this – each decision...
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Going green in 2019

As 2019 begins, we take a look at our plans for delivering environmental sustainability at the University this coming year. Where we are 2018 was our most successful year yet sustainability-wise, with major reductions in waste production and water consumption and increases in sustainable travel levels. For an interactive look back, view our Annual Sustainability Report. Where we’re going Continuous improvement is a key part of strong environmental management, and 2019 promises to be no exception. Energy hack We are developing plans for our first ever ‘Energy Hack’, building on the success of previous Blackout events to reduce energy consumption in our buildings. We will be focussing on a number of buildings across the estate, engaging students and staff to work with us to improve the efficiency of their study and work environments, and have some fun along the way! Solar expansion Following a doubling of our solar panel installations in 2018, we plan yet more installations, at our Thames Valley Science Park, London Road campus and the Museum...
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Warp-it

If you have used Warp-it before and want to log in, click on the logo above to access the site.  If you would like more information please read the sections below. ***Please note that the take-home clearance has now ended, so items on Warp-it can only be claimed for University business use***   1. Introduction to Warp-it 2. Getting started - the basics 3. Different types of claims Claiming items for internal use at the University - See Section 2. 4. Other hints and tips ...
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UniGreenScheme

Do you have University equipment that is in good condition and still working, but is now unwanted?  Already tried offering it to other Schools and Functions (through Warp-it or other methods), but haven't found a new home?  Please consider whether the University's equipment reseller, UniGreenScheme, could collect it and re-home it. How does it work? How to make a booking How will I receive payment for items when they are sold? UniGreenScheme will send you a credit note once items are sold - once received, contact your finance administrator for assistance in processing this. What if I have already found another organisation to pass the equipment on to? This is not a problem - simply contact Procurement to discuss getting permission for releasing University equipment to the third-party organisation. ...
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Summer Re-use challenge 2018

In August, the popular re-use challenge returned! In August 2017 we avoided disposing of 219kg of stuff by re-using it, which saved staff over £1,500 because they sourced items for free rather than having to buy it all new.  But this August we wanted to achieve 250kg of items re-used in just two weeks! Why did we do this? Because re-use is the right thing to do - it has lots of environmental and financial benefits. The University recognises this and has a target to improve re-use by 10% by 2021. Not only was there yummy chocolate or "sugar free" desk tidies as a thank you for those who took part, there were also 7 Warp-it SuperUser awards (Sustain-it cups or bike lights) for staff who were the most active on Warp-it over the duration of the challenge. We are pleased to report that the challenge was complete - staff re-used far more than the 250kg target. In fact, just under three...
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The Egg-cellent April Re-Use Challenge!

You did it! The April Re-use challenge target has been achieved. We set staff a target to re-use 700kg of items by the end of April. It was a big challenge, and yummy Cadbury's Creme eggs (or sugar-free desk tidies) were offered to people who helped out. A big thank-you to everyone who took part - you did it! The target has been achieved and you re-used a whopping 740kg of items through the University's Warp-it portal. That's nearly three quarters of a tonne, and it has saved staff an estimated £4,488 by avoiding buying new. Why did we do this? Because re-use is the right thing to do - it has lots of environmental and financial benefits (find out more here). The University recognises this and has a target to improve re-use by 10% by 2021. In April 2017 we avoided disposing of 649kg of stuff by re-using it, which saved staff over £2,800 because they sourced items for free rather than...
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Where Does Our Waste Go?

This page provides information on how our waste is managed, who manages it and where it goes. For more information on what you can recycle or how to handle your waste, consult the Waste and Recycling A-Z. For any clarification or further information do not hesitate to contact waste@reading.ac.uk. Dry Mixed Recycling - cans, plastic bottles, tins, paper etc. Once dry mixed recycling is placed in the recycling bins it is collected by the porters and cleaners and placed in various eurocart wheelie bins, skips and other bins across campus. The University's waste contractor then collects the waste and transports it to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is where recyclable materials  are sorted into different types (e.g. plastics, cardboard, paper, metal) using a mixture of manual and automated methods. When the materials have been sorted they are sent to re-processors and manufacturers where they are used to create new products. Paper, Card and Confidential Waste Paper and card is collected from eurocart wheelie bins, skips and compactors across...
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Student Sustainability Assistants

In the spring term Sustainability Services have taken on 4 Student Sustainability Assistants to help aid some of the many exciting upcoming projects. The areas where most of the work is being focussed, is improvements to Recycling and Travel at the University. Mike is a second year Environmental Management student working with the team and this is an update on how he is finding his time with the team. I started working with Sustainability Services at the start of January to aid Ruth Harris and Anna Glue with the new bin installations at London Road and MERL. This included labelling up new bins in relation to a floor plan to help with easy distribution on the day. Carrying out this fundamental work helped with developing my reading of complex floor plans and developing strategies for distribution which I feel will benefit me with further studies but also in jobs in the future. Alongside the bin installations I carried out audits...
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Paper cup recycling, and re-useable cups

Paper cup recycling Good news! You can recycle disposable paper coffee cups in special cups bins around the campus.  Please look for the dedicated cup recycling points in and near cafés, catering outlets, and key locations such as foyers and seating areas (there is a list of locations below so you can find your closest bin). These recycling bins predominantly have pink labels (see above), with a few that have blue labels (see left) - we hope to update the blue labelled bins in due course.  Please do not put paper cups in the green recycling bins - they must be collected separately from other recycling to allow them to go to a different, specialised recycling plant. Please empty your cups of dregs and tea-bags in the bin provided; then pop them in the cup collection bin and your cups will be made into lovely new paper products such as bags and notebooks. For more facts about paper cups and what is happening nationally about paper...
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Are we focusing on the right environmental issues?

Opinion: Dan Fernbank, Energy & Sustainability Manager Paper cups, plastic bottles, plastic straws - it seems everyone's talking about them.  High profile coverage from the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'War on Waste!' and David Attenborough's 'Blue Planet 2' have done wonders to highlight their environmental impacts, and to encourage practical environmental action on a large scale. But are these really today's big environmental issues? The University has set ambitious targets for continual environmental improvement throughout its operations, aiming by 2021 to cut its carbon emissions by 45%, water consumption by 35%, boost recycling to 60% and continuously improve sustainable travel options to and on our campuses.  Is there a risk that the current focus on single-use plastics/packaging, while worthy, may divert attention and resources away from our much larger goals, or should this be welcomed as an encouraging sign of mass interest in environmental issues? One of the challenges we often face as environmental professionals is how to engage people with our ambitious targets...
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