We are working with Falmouth University, the University of Exeter and the Students' Union on a variety of projects to make our campuses more sustainable. Here's a taste of some of the work carried out so far...
Bin the Bin: This initiative is being rolled out across our campuses. It means the removal of office (desk) bins and provision of larger, centralised recycling and waste bins. 451 office bins will be removed which means that 45,000 plastic bin bags will no longer be going to waste every year. It has also been demonstrated that when Bin the Bin is rolled out in organisations, the amount of recycling increases and, therefore, waste reduces. To date (31 October 2019), 409 bins have been removed with 42 to go when appropriate spaces for centralised bins are identified.
Local produce: As of November 2019, 42% of our total supply chain is local (Cornwall and Devon) with 90% of those local suppliers being SMEs (small and medium enterprises). In terms of food and drink, 74% of our catering and shop suppliers are local. Here are some examples: WestCountry Fruit Sales; Prima Bakeries; Brian Etherington Meat Co; WC Rowe; LWC Cornwall; Cornish Coffee; St Austell Brewery; Cornish Farm Dairy and Baker Tom.
Cleaning: Our Cleaning Team is implementing a new dosing system, which will greatly improve the environmental sustainability of the products we use. All products have a ‘WEIR’ (Wright Environmental Impact Rating) rating system that measure the raw materials used, the risk of release to the environment, the environmental hazard classification, the impact of water used in product, the impact of usage, the pH, and the impact of energy used to prepare & manufacture a finished product. Plus, the super-concentrated nature of what is being purchased, and the volumes in which they are provided, mean that we expect a reduction of 3,000 plastic bottles per year, alongside a reduction in shipping and associated emissions.
Disposable Cups: Between September 2018 - when we introduced the sale of reusable, 100% biodegradable hot drinks cups and also started charging for disposable cups (20p per cup which goes into a Sustainability Fund) - and March 2019, about 33% of hot drinks across our catering outlets were sold in disposable cups. We’re aiming to reduce this even more so, in September 2019, we supplied free, reusable hot drinks cups to 1,000 freshers, using the 20ps from the Sustainability Fund for this initiative. So far this academic year (2019/20), the University of Exeter’s ESI Cafe is leading the way by far with an average of just 3% of drinks being sold in disposable cups. The second lowest percentage is Falmouth University’s AMATA at 21%, followed by the Lower Stannary Kitchen at 26%.
Energy: Carbon reduction is a major plank in FX Plus’ ongoing commitment to sustainability. We have recently signed up to getting its electricity supply from 100% renewable energy sources. The electricity is backed by Clean Technology Renewable Energy which originates from sources such as wind, solar and hydro and is evidenced through the Renewable Energy Guarantees Origin (REGO) scheme.
We also have an energy screen in The Exchange detailing energy use in several Penryn Campus buildings - informing us all so we can become more sustainable.
More Carbon Reduction: Since 2006, great progress has been made in reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 40% from 93.4 kg CO2e per m2 to 56 kg CO2e per m2. This has been enabled by installing technologies including LED lighting, photovoltaics (PV) and combined heat and power systems (CHP). In total, six PV arrays and four CHP engines have been installed with combined installed power capacity of 325 kWp. We are also reducing the temperature of work spaces across campuses (to 19 degrees).
British Heart Foundation Pack for Good: In 2018, Falmouth and Penryn campus users collected 800 bags for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) – worth £3000 more than the 2017 collection. The collection takes place across the year as part of the BHF Pack for Good campaign which targets students who are moving out, encouraging them to donate unwanted items (books, household goods, clothes) to the BHF. The 2018 collections diverted 6.3 tonnes of unwanted items from going to landfill or an incinerator and helped to raise more than £11,000 for the BHF.
Single use plastics: We have stopped using plastic straws and cling film in catering outlets on our campuses and are looking at reducing single use plastics as much as possible. This includes:
- Encouraging our suppliers to use less plastic packaging, or to collect and reuse their packaging.
- Introducing dual-purpose water fountains (drinking and bottle refill).
- Removing plastic bottles from vending machines and replacing with cans which are easier and need less energy to recycle.
- Charging for disposable hot drinks cups and food containers and offering reusable ones and china and crockery as alternatives.
- Compostable packaging for sandwiches and other food made and/or packed on site. We are also looking into on campus composting alternatives as this is not widely offered for waste in Cornwall.
- Looking at alternatives to plastics in laboratories and work spaces.
Biodiversity: Our beautiful campuses are full of a huge variety of plants, insects and wildlife. Our grounds team encourages biodiversity to flourish. Some examples of this are:
- Creating ‘bee hotels’.
- Growing wildflowers to encourage insects, birds and bats.
- Achieving Green Flag status three years in a row.
Transport: We try to discourage car use wherever possible and where cars are used we want to encourage sharing, using electric vehicles and other more sustainable methods of transport.
Reprographics: Our Reprographics team has several different options for sustainable printing. The most commonly used paper for laser printing is FSC certified and CO2 neutral and it’s also used in the student fleet printers (eg in the IT Suite and Library). The team also stocks a 75% part-recycled paper - Evolution Value – which, unlike many recycled papers, is produced without chlorine bleaching. This paper is used in the staff fleet copiers. Also on offer is a 100% recycled ‘newsprint’ paper (for printing in the Repro office only).
Koofi/ESI/AMATA/Fox cafes: Products that are made in-house are put in completely biodegradable or compostable packaging. These include baguettes, bagels, wraps, yoghurt and fruit pots. We use companies including Vegware for the packaging and Planglow for our labels. Planglow items are all made from plants and can be composted together with food waste. The Vegware boxes and baguette bags are made from recycled paper and the ‘glass’ window is made from wood pulp. All disposable cutlery is now made from corn starch or birchwood and Koofi also offers metal cutlery as an eat-in option.