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As part of its vision to be the University for the Common Good, the University used its environmental management system to launch a Waste Minimisation and Recycling Plan (WMRP) that aligns its waste and resource management arrangements with the principles of the circular economy.
Through the WMPR, the University upgraded recycling systems, introduced a surplus asset sharing portal, launched a dedicated food waste collection from departmental kitchens and worked with its catering contractor to have milk delivered in bulk containers. These initiatives complement other, smaller, established initiatives focusing on reducing unsolicited mail and encouraging students and staff to use fewer single use water bottles and paper cups, making waste avoidance and recycling a core aspect of the campus operation.
The University also worked with students in a number of Schools to carry out waste composition analysis, survey staff to understand where they source information about recycling and create an induction video for students and staff.
As a result of these initiatives, the University has reduced waste by 10% since 2014-15 and increased recycling from 18% to 64% (with the remainder sent for energy recovery).
Top 3 learnings:
1. Good data is essential successful intervention design.
2. Simple projects can deliver significant environmental benefits.
3. Marginal gain projects add up and deliver environmental benefits and stakeholder engagement opportunities.
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