Since the launch of the first phase of our recycling centres in October, our staff and students have done us proud. Results so far have been very positive, with the different waste being separated correctly and a real eagerness to use the bins. We’ve even had some requests for extra bins in other offices and areas around the University!
Currently the recycling centres have been placed in communal areas around the Main Building and Library to give as many people as possible the chance to benefit from these facilities. There are bins in the open study areas, catering outlets, common rooms and lobby areas. The centres have facilities to recycle plastic bottles, glass jars and bottles, food and drink cans and paper and cardboard.
The next stage, due to be rolled out in the New Year, will include bins in lecture theatres and in other buildings across campus. After that we hope to introduce the last few centres into offices quickly so that everyone has easy access to facilities. Within no time at all the old-fashioned bins and throwaway culture will be a thing of the past here at Aston and we will be the proud occupiers of a “binless campus”.
Aston’s Environment and Sustainability Officer is, understandably, very enthusiastic about this new scheme: “This is definitely a step in the right direction. We’ve got some ambitious targets to meet when it comes to reducing waste and this will put us right on track.”
The Environment Team aren’t the only ones who are excited about recycling at Aston. Rehana Yasin, Student Guild Vice President for Education and Welfare, says “The additional recycling facilities on campus allow students to continue the recycling habits which they learnt from home. The specific facilities are perfect for the way in which students live.”
And Rachael Jenkins, Purchasing and Clerical Administrator, was keen to show her support: “I think the bins are a great idea and useful in promoting recycling awareness throughout the University. The system will also work well in our offices and will help us all think more carefully about how we dispose of our waste both within the workplace and within our own homes.”
Not only are our Purchasing Services Team using (and appreciating!) these new facilities, they also helped to pay for them. Purchasing Services have put a lot of time and effort into working with our suppliers to ensure that we are able to purchase environmentally friendly products and goods. As a result, staff have been buying more and more recycled products from a range of approved suppliers. Our approved stationery supplier, Lyreco, rewarded environmental purchases by paying a rebate on all related University spend in this area - a rebate of around £8000 last year was certainly very welcome and went a long way towards purchasing our recycling centres.
Next year we hope to use some of the rebate to help fund the purchase of plumbed in water coolers to replace the water bottles we are currently using. This will reduce our waste even more and cut transport emissions to and from the University. Keep an eye out during 2010 for more information on reducing, reusing and recycling at Aston.
Words by Victoria Johnsen