British universities and colleges do not wish to get left behind their American counterparts when it comes to reducing waste or being more ecologically friendly. They understand that while waste takes up unnecessary space in unsightly landfills, transporting newly produced goods by plane or lorry also has a carbon emission impact too. Even disposing of waste can affect the environment due to the production of methane in the waste disposal method. Therefore, they appreciate that it’s not a one-sided, single view problem they’re working on.

Let’s look at how British universities and colleges are tackling waste and other contributory issues relating to it.

Waste and Carbon Emissions Take Seriously at Cambridge University

The University of Cambridge has a page on its site about its ongoing efforts to reduce total carbon emissions with the yearly activities of the university, staff, and its operations. It totals up what carbon impact it has too.

The university also factors in the impact that waste has within its policies that impact the planet. They understand that managing waste to actively reduce its mass is important because just disposing of waste products, including the transportation of it to landfills or to a site where it will be destroyed, releases carbon into the atmosphere through the transportation method.

Cambridge University’s goal with regard to waste is to cut the use of landfills by limiting purchases to only what’s absolutely necessary for the operation of their educational establishment. They also look to re-use items and recycle those that cannot be reused rather than have products go directly into the waste bin.

Waste Awareness & Aggressive Targets from Imperial College, London

Imperial College in London has a strong environmental policy as it applies to waste. As a prestigious, respected educational establishment in Kensington in the heart of London, they receive many international students. Therefore, it’s good to see that they take a positive lead on issues around waste in all its facets.

The college looks at waste disposal as a problem with an enveloping solution rather than as one part of their environmental policy. They understand that its necessary to remind everyone on staff as well as the student body about the need to actively reduce waste.

An emphasis is placed on cutting waste by recycling where possible and reusing items too. With recycling, their goals include reducing it by an impressive 55 percent by 2020. Indeed, to get this moving, facilities for recycling various kinds of waste products are provided in accessible positions for staff and students. These containers are then emptied and taken to recyclers on a regular basis to maintain the recycling facility.

Composting is also added where it’s possible and a good idea to do so. This is because some types of waste provide nutrients for soil and don’t need to be disposed of at all.

The University of Brighton Reaches for High Recycling Targets

To avoid waste, the University of Brighton on the southern coast has an optimistic target of 75 percent of waste being recycled. This is one of the highest goals that a British University or College is aiming for.

The university has put money behind their goal with the supply of both recycling and waste bins at strategic locations where one always accompanies the other. This way, no students or faculty ever have a lack of choice with only a waste bin at the location where disposal will take place. There’re also colorful signs above the bins explaining what items can be recycled and what presently cannot be, which helps educate everyone just how much can be recycled to avoid more waste going to landfills.

A reusable cup scheme is offered there too. When aiming to be close to a zero waste university, then that’s a great start. The water drinks company Bevi offers drinks dispensers that work well at colleges and universities with reusable cups and secure water containers. Bevi believes in a zero waste policy with its aim to eradicate the use of disposable water bottles. You can find out more about zero waste universities here from their website.

The University of Bristol is Ahead of the Pack

The University of Bristol is ahead of many other British educational establishments. This is because they already see 95 percent of their waste skipping the landfill and being recycled instead. They work with organizations like New Earth Solutions to actively reduce the use of landfills.

They’re also big on composting to deal with food waste on the campus too. Almost nothing gets wasted there.  

It’s great to see that British universities are not lagging far behind their American counterparts when it comes to sensible actions to keep the environment supported. While each university and college has pursued a different number of alternatives to waste disposal via landfills, they’re all working towards lofty goals to eventually reach a point of zero waste.