Summer Re-use Challenge

Summer Re-use challenge - can we re-use 250kg of items in just two weeks? That's the challenge, and it was better than the last challenge in April (find out more here)!  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 are the most active on Warp-it over the duration of the challenge. 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 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'd like to try and achieve 250kg of items re-used in just...
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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 trial Good news! You are now able to recycle disposable paper coffee cups in special cups bins around the campus.  This is currently a trial, however we hope that this will be successful and become permanent.  Please look for the dedicated cup recycling points in and near café’s and catering outlets (there is a list of locations below so you can find your closest bin).   These recycling bins are usually black, and will have a blue cup recycling label on them (see the example to the right).  Please do not put paper cups in the green recycling bins - they must be collected separately from other recycling. Please empty your cups of dregs and tea-bags in the bin provided, then pop them in the cup collection bin and your cup will be made in to lovely new paper products such as bags and notebooks.For more facts about paper cups and what is happening nationally about paper cup recycling, visit the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group website.  Why...
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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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Warp-it

If you have used Warp-it before to claim or re-use items at the University and want to log in, click on the large logo above to access the site.  If you haven't used Warp-it before, or would like more information please read the sections below. What is Warp-it? Getting started with Warp-it What happens if my item doesn't find a new home through Warp-it? Help Guides and Porters Booking Forms Site Rules Accessing Warp-it Claiming items from the Marsden Shed Store FAQs If you are experiencing problems that these FAQs do not help with please contact waste@reading.ac.uk and we will be happy to help.1. I've forgotten what the website address is.2. Why can't I log in?3. I want to dispose of something, but this is a reuse website!4. I'm worried about data protection. I don't want my IT equipment re-used!5. I've offered an item for re-use: why can't I see it on the site?6. I have claimed an item but it hasn't been delivered yet.7. Does this automatically update my...
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Benefits of re-use

What are the benefits of re-use? Save money by re-using items for free rather than purchasing new items.Save money by not paying to throw away good quality, useable items.Reduce your carbon footprint by minimising waste production and waste treatment.Minimise damage to the environment through e.g. habitat damage and pollution caused by resource extraction, manufacturing and transport of goods.Feel good that you and others at the University are making a difference, no matter how small! What is the University's policy on re-use? The University has a Re-Use Policy which gives information on what the University wants to achieve regarding re-use of items which are still fit for purpose. It sets out three commitments of increasing re-use, changing culture and creating benefit.  It also sets out a hierarchy of re-use:Re-use within the University is the priorityIf this is not possible, consideration should be given to re-use in the local community (e.g. charity donation)If this is not possible, consideration should be given to whether items can be...
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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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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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