10 Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Campus

This generation of students are more environmentally focused than ever, so inspiring them to make sustainable choices on campus shouldn't be too hard.

According to The National Union of Students (NUS) Connects Skills and Sustainable Development Study in 2017, almost three-quarters of students agree that all courses should actively incorporate and promote sustainable development.*

Here are some top tips to help inspire the students of today to make those sustainable choices for the campus of tomorrow:

1. Improve the ease of recycling

The convenience and visibility of recycling bins are key. Prevent recyclable and biodegradable materials from ending up in general waste and litter bins by placing recycling bins in easily accessible areas to both students and staff members on campus.

Place school recycling bins in the following areas:

  • Canteens and common rooms
  • Classrooms and busy hallways or corridors
  • Sports facilities and science labs
  • Student dorms and housing blocks

High footfall areas are likely to receive a large amount of waste, so ensuring you have enough recycling facilities in these areas can help to boost your campus recycling rates.

Download the Eco-Friendly Campus Infographic Here
Download our free infographic here.

2. Conduct a waste audit

Different locations on campus will produce different volumes and types of waste. Conducting a waste management audit will help you gain a clearer picture of the waste streams you need to tackle and where they are most prominent.

Use the results of your waste management audit to determine which litter bins and recycling bins are needed and site them accordingly. The audit will also help to prevent any unnecessary spending and improve performance against your campus recycling goals.

Need help with your audit? We offer free, no obligation advice and assistance, whereby a member of our team is available to visit you on site to help assess your requirements. Request your free waste management audit here.

3. Standardise recycling facilities

Nexus 30 Recycling Range

Keeping your recycling containers consistent in terms of aesthetics will clearly indicate to both students and teachers which bins are meant for recycling.

We offer a variety of stylish recycling bins to suit any location. The Nexus® 30 range of recycling bins – are ideal for indoor environments as they can be easily sited under desks or at the side of work areas.

Alternatively, site your indoor recycling bins side-by-side to form an attractive recycling station.

For external environments, the Nexus® 200 Duo Recycling Bins are ideal for collecting multiple waste streams in one unit. With a large 200-litre capacity, these containers are the ideal solution for outdoor recycling on college campuses.

4. Use recognisable graphics

Students and lecturers may be unaware of what can and can’t be recycled on campus. Providing accurate information and graphics where necessary can help to educate others and inspire a positive behavioural change.

Create user-friendly recycling guides to notify students about where to find recycling bins on campus and which waste streams are accepted. You can also create informational sign kits to show which waste should be deposited into each container.

We offer the option to add a sign kit with standard or custom graphics to a wide range of our recycling containers. Take a look at our 5 Step Personalisation Guide for more information.

Use recognisable graphics consistently on recycling bins across campus to help to reduce cross-contamination levels while increasing recycling rates.

Standard Recycling Graphics

You can even personalise your recycling graphics with your branding or crest, to inspire students to support their college in recycling.

5. Integrate sustainability into learning

Research in the NUS Connects Skills and Sustainable Development Study also shows that 60 per cent of students want to learn more about sustainability.**

They have developed the Responsible Futures programme which aims to put sustainability at the heart of education across Universities and Colleges.

The externally-assessed accreditation mark has been developed to assist all institutions in helping their students gain the skills they need to thrive as global citizens. Read the Responsible Futures Overview and Register your institution today.

Alternatively, incorporate sustainability into your curriculum by providing students with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) classes, which is part of a Global Action Programme founded by UNESCO.

The course provides students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to empower them to contribute to a sustainable future, which will get them more involved in environmentally friendly practices.

Find out more with the UNESCO: Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development resource.

6. Drop off your old items for reuse

Provide alternative bins for recycling unwanted items in dedicated drop-off points around the college.

Modus Housing

Recycle unwanted clothes with solutions such as the Modus™ Housing which hide large capacity wheeled containers. Add clear graphics to make the bin easily identifiable for its dedicated use.

Why not provide somewhere for students to recycle their used books? The Nexus® 140 Recycling Container is a large volume collection unit which would be ideal as a personalised drop-off point for pre-loved books in libraries or other busy communal areas around campus.

7. Make the switch

Encourage students to cut down on single-use plastic items and switch from plastic utensils, bottles and straws to reusable alternatives.

In canteen’s and café’s, why not provide an alternative to plastic straws by changing to paper, pasta or other biodegradable options?

Stopping the sale of bottled water and providing water fountains is also a good way to encourage students to bring their own reusable bottles to re-fill.

Why not also make the switch in other areas on campus and change your seats and benches to Recycled Material Seating? Providing eco-friendly seating made from recycled polymer and sustainable materials is beneficial as they are low maintenance and have a long service life, as well as being 100% recyclable

These are all small ways to make more sustainable choices that can make a huge environmental difference in the long run.

8. Get cycling!

Help reduce carbon emissions by promoting the benefits of cycling and encouraging your students to travel more sustainably rather than using public transport.

Not only will you be helping the environment, but it is a great way to keep fit and save money at the same time.

Offering cycle facilities can provide the option for students and staff members to ride their bike to college, whilst allowing them somewhere secure to lock them up.

Glasdon offer a range of cycle storage solutions, which are ideal for campuses, including bike stands and canopies as well as bike shelters

9. Raise awareness, then publish the results!

recycling results graph

Raise awareness about your campus recycling goals using a dedicated recycling committee. Generate posters, schedule e-newsletters or add a recycling column to your student newspaper to get the word out and encourage others to get involved in reaching those targets.

You could even elect recycling captains for each class to monitor waste diversion levels on a room-by-room basis. This would make it easier to ensure that recycling rates do not drop after the initial impact has been made.

Monitor your recycling levels and generate updates each semester on how the college is progressing with its waste management goals. This will not only allow you to track your progress, but it can help to keep recycling at the front of people’s minds.

Let the student body know how well they are doing to inspire a permanent change when it comes to waste disposal.

10. Review & Repeat

It is a good idea to refresh your recycling programme on a regular basis.

Look back on how the college performed to determine what techniques worked well and decide if any changes need to be made. Consult with the recycling committee to identify any problems and conduct regular waste audits to ensure that you’re making the most of your recycling containers.

For more information on our range of sustainable products that can help you create a more eco-friendly campus, speak to one of our friendly advisors via LiveChat or on 01253 600410 today.

** https://sustainability.unioncloud.org/our-research/our-research/skills-and-sustainable-development
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
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