By Martin Kerr
Zero Waste Scotland is calling ‘time up’ on the 30,000 tonnes of plastic bottles ending up in landfill each year as part of its Recycle Week, which runs from 24th to 30th September.
It’s time for us all to take action and tackle climate change and reduce our carbon footprint here at Inverness College UHI and we couldn’t think of a better time to launch our very own Waste Not Want not Campaign.
I’ve been doing a bit of reading about waste. Did you know people in Scotland purchase 1 billion plastic bottles every year? Of these 20 million are littered. A further read of Zero Waste Scotland website tells me that 15,000 tonnes of plastic bottles in residual waste could be worth up to £1.95 million if recycled instead. It’s quite astonishing.
The Scottish Government has a vision where ALL waste is seen as a resource, waste is minimised, valuable resources are not disposed of in landfills and most waste is sorted, leaving only limited amounts to be treated.
Just now Inverness College UHI recycles 67% of it’s waste, sending 33% of waste to landfill. That represents around 100 black bags of waste every week. As part of Zero Waste Scotland’s Recycle Week, which runs from 24th to 30th September, we’re showing staff and students exactly what that looks like in our atrium.
We’re going to change this! By 2020 Inverness College UHI is committed to recycling 95% of waste by 2020 – significantly reducing the amount we send to landfill. That means working with staff and students to reduce their waste by 10%.
We know it’s a tall order but with the support of staff and students, we can do it. You’ll have noticed we introduced new waste stations in our Corrie and Lochan restaurants with clear signage to promote compostable items for disposal. We’ll be providing something similar in staff rooms soon. We’ve also stopped using plastic strays and single use plastic bags.
That’s just the start and there will be lots more happening over the next 18 months as we work towards our target so stay tuned on social media platforms and our staff/student intranets.
There’s simple steps you can take to reduce your waste here.
- Use our waste stations
- Use a disposable cup
- Use a bag for life
- Our cups and cutlery are compostable – we now have compostable bins
- Choose to drink tap water only – we’ve got stations all over the college
But this is not just about what we do here at Inverness College UHI. Everyone has a responsiblity and I would urge you to think about small changes you can make at home.
- Do you have a recycling bin? If not, get one!
- Next time you need new batteries, get rechargable ones
- Think before you shop. Make a meal plan and reduce the amount of food you throw out.
- Did you know you can stop unwanted junk mail? http://www.recycleforscotland.com/reduce/unwanted-mail
- Re-use and donate. Can you repair something instead of throwing it out. Can you sell something second hand?
We know we can’t do this alone. We want your help – whether you are a member of staff, a student, or a member of the public who wants to get involved. We would love to hear your ideas. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment here or on social media.
Martin Kerr is the Estates and Campus Services Manager at Inverness College UHI