Author: Sophia

Waste and recycling at King’s

All this week our lovely staff Sustainability Champions have been learning all about waste and recycling at King’s and how they can help us achieve our targets.

So what are our sustainability targets?

  • 43% reduction in our carbon footprint from our 2005-06 baseline
  • Reduce absolute water consumption by 2% each year
  • Achieve 70% recycling of non hazardous waste by 2020

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Last year King’s produces 3663 tonnes of waste. That’s 20x as heavy as a house!

Our goal by 2020 is to ensure that 70% of this waste is recycled. In order to make this happen we have implemented a number of changes. Previously King’s worked with over 40 different contractors in order to dispose of our waste. This year we have worked hard to reduce that down to around 10, the main one of which is Simply Waste. The benefit of working with Simply Waste as one of our primary contractors is not only that they operate a zero waste to landfill policy, but also that every time one of our bins are collected it is weighed so we know exactly how much general waste and recycling we are producing. That data is passed on to us monthly so, crucially, if we implement any new policies or initiative we can see the benefit (or lack of) in real time. In this way it is much easier for us to tell what changes we need to make in order to improve our recycling rates.

So where are we now? Currently we are recycling 39% of our waste, so we still have a way to go before we hit our 60% target!

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So how can you help us to improve our recycling rates?

  • We have this handy A-Z of waste guide which will tell you everything you need to know about disposing of all different kinds of items at King’s
  • Check out the bin in your areas. Are they correctly labelled with clear signage and is it possible to relabel them so 2/3 of the bins are recycling?
  • Make sure you and your colleagues are aware of Warp-it, our online sharing platform for office and lab items

 

If you have any questions about waste and recycling in your area then don’t hesitate to contact us at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk

 

Switch off this Christmas

As King’s gets quieter for the Christmas period, we would like to remind you to turn off all lights and non-essential equipment at the plug if you are the last one to leave the office for the Christmas period.

Please plan how you will shut down all unnecessary equipment in your area of work. Remember to switch off your computer, laptop and monitor, office lights and desk lamp. However, please be cautious with equipment such as fridges, freezers and research equipment. You can contact the Sustainability Champion in your area for more information or if you’re unsure about what action to take. Take a look at our switch off posters for laboratories here, and our offices here.

By switching off your electronics over the Christmas period, you will be helping the university to support its commitment to worldwide environmental responsibilities and the Paris Pledge for Action.

Take time to select a representative in your office to look after the following items:

TV screens and departmental controlled AV equipment in your area

Kitchen equipment

  • Switch off the hot water boilers, kettles, microwaves and water coolers.

Kitchen area fridge

  • Empty and switch off or turn the cooling temperature to low.

Printers and photocopiers

  • Switch off at the socket; a photocopier on standby overnight can use enough energy to make 30 cups of tea.

Electric heaters

  • Switch off at the socket.

Taps

  • Turn off tightly and report dripping taps to the Service Desk.

Windows and office doors

  • Ensure all are shut firmly.

Fume cupboards and safety cabinets

  • Please ensure the sash is closed for either equipment. Turn off all safety cabinets. For fume cupboards, clear out if possible, do not leave any equipment in operation, and set your fume cupboard to ‘low-flow’ if applicable.

As a global university, King’s College London is entirely committed to its worldwide environmental responsibilities. King’s is an initial signatory of the Paris Pledge for Action, which supports the agreement made at COP 21 (21stConference of the Parties, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to limit global temperature rise by less than 2 degrees Celsius.

By switching off your electronics over the Christmas period, you will be helping the university to support these commitments and to achieve its goal to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 43 per cent by 2020 from a 2005/06 baseline.

Celebrating our Lab Sustainability Champion, Bernard Freeman

Our Sustainability Champions are an essential way for the University to reach its target of achieving a 43% carbon reduction by 2020. With laboratories using 3-10 times more energy per m2 than academic spaces making these areas as sustainable as possible is integral for achieving these targets.

This is why our inspiring Sustainability Champions like Bernard Freeman, the Lab Manager from the Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre are so important. Bernard was nominated for a Green Gown award due to all the amazing work he has done to make King’s labs more sustainable and last week travelled to Manchester for the award ceremony. While Bernard didn’t win on the night we would still like to congratulate Bernard for all the amazing work he has done at King’s.

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In this role Bernard has helped to embed sustainability across the department, introducing pioneering sample tracking software which has helped to increase energy and cost efficiency of cold storage. As well as this Bernard helped to reduce waste from over purchasing by introducing a centralised purchasing system for 200 different types of laboratory consumables.

Recognising the lack of training for both staff and students with respect to sustainable practice in laboratories, he engaged the University Sustainability Team to develop training materials. Energy efficiency and sustainable management of waste and resources now form a key component of inducting researchers into his laboratory, and staff leaving the laboratory have continued these practices in laboratories beyond King’s College London.

Well done Bernard, and thanks for all of your hard work!

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Sustainability Champion contact us at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk.

Meet Josh, our Waste to Resource Project Coordinator

 

Photo of Josh2Hello! Well, where do I start? I’ve been tasked to sort out all of your rubbish – which may be seen as a massive ‘waste’ of time. Okay, I’ll stop with the waste puns right now. My formal title is Waste to Resource Project Coordinator, which entails me helping King’s to achieve it’s 2018/19 goal of recycling 70% of all its commercial waste, along with aligning waste practices across the King’s estate.

Since joining the team in August 2017 I have implemented coffee cup recycling across certain sites with the message that “King’s is taking responsibility for the waste it generates”. It’s important that the University looks to mitigate its effect on the environment and this a great way to get the ball rolling and promote a circular economy. I am currently working with the newly appointed waste provider, Simply Waste Solutions, to rationalise the bin systems we have in place to ensure our cleaning team have the tools to achieve our 70% recycling goal. Once this has been accomplished I’ll be looking at the bin provisions within our buildings, ensuring that 70% of all the bins inside are designated for recycling, giving you a 70% chance of recycling your waste. “70” is the golden number and by applying this to everything we do I have no doubt we WILL achieve our target by 2018/19.

I have been working alongside King’s for a number of years, helping to assist the cleaning team with the integration of non-chemical based cleaning products, and working on efficient waste management. I then migrated to the King’s facilities team at the Strand, working in Operations to improve student facilities including the roll out of Deluxe Bike Stands across the King’s Estates.

I am always open to innovative ideas and pragmatic approaches to dealing with waste, so if you have any ideas please do get in contact with me. My email is josh.pullen@kcl.ac.uk or you can get in touch at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk.

Away from waste, I’m also the Co-Chair of the King’s LGBT+ Staff Network promoting Diversity & Inclusion in the institution and working with departments and faculties to promote a fair and comfortable environment for LGBT+ people at King’s. If you are a staff member and would like to hear about events, volunteering opportunities or just meet up with fellow LGBT+ colleagues email lgbtnetwork@kcl.ac.uk to join the newsletter.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2017

One of the biggest issues affecting the goals around sustainable development is worldwide poverty.

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The call to end poverty runs throughout the UN’s Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, where the overarching theme is to achieve inclusive, people-centered and sustainable development, making sure that no one is left behind. The eradication of poverty and the desire to create sustainable development are closely linked. The UN actually says that tackling this global challenge is a crucial requirement for achieving sustainable development.

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So why are poverty and sustainable development so closely linked? The World Bank predicts that the amount people in poverty will grow from 702 million worldwide to around a billion by 2030. On top of this, the impact of climate change has the ability to force an additional 100 million people back into poverty over the next 15 years. This is because climate change could cause crop yield losses as large as 5% in 2030 and 30% in 2080. The impact of this in places like Sub-Saharan Africa means that food prices could be around 12% higher, which could have a devastating impact on poorer households, who already spend around 60% of their income on food. With agriculture being a main driver of the economy in poorer countries, it’s essential to develop sustainable agricultural practices that will not only help to end extreme poverty, but also achieve food security and promote sustainable economic growth. This is why tackling poverty is integral to sustainable development. Helping to create more sustainable agricultural practices means we can help poorer communities out of poverty, and will ensure the well-being of rural communities and ecosystems.  Ultimately, helping to raise people around the world out of poverty will not only help make sure that they can live in dignity, but will help to protect the planet from degradation and foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies around the world.

In a week where we have celebrated both World Food Day, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and the International Day of the Rural Women, it’s more important than ever that we understand the connection between food, poverty and sustainable development.

Find some helpful tips and actions to make your life more sustainable here!

Welcome from King’s new Sustainability Projects Assistant

Hello!

I have recently joinedIMG-20171004-WA0000 (2) the King’s Sustainability Team as their new Sustainability Projects Assistant. The passion and drive in the team to make King’s as sustainable as possible is palpable, and I am excited to be part of a university that is dedicated to embedding the ethos of sustainability across all of its practices.

For the last year I have been studying for my masters in Environment, Politics and Globalisation at King’s. I decided to study environmental politics after spending 5 months backpacking around India. I saw a lot of environmental damage happening there and I realised that tackling these issues was not just about the physical impact on the planet, but was also a way to create a fairer, more just society that could benefit everyone. From studying how we frame climate change, to looking into the impact globalisation has on the environment, I have only become more passionate about these issues in the last year and I believe in the importance of all different parts of society working together to find a solution to these problems.

For my dissertation this summer I looked into air pollution policy in London, and the ways in which citizens are trying to take back control of these issues by monitoring air pollution levels in their local areas. What stood out for me during this project was the importance of democratising environmental knowledge; creating awareness, understanding what the problem is, and finding ways everyone can make a difference is key to empowering people to make positive change. This is one of the reasons that I think sustainability at King’s is so important. As a University we have a responsibility to make sure that staff and students understand the difference they can make on an individual level, as a part of the King’s community and also throughout our wider society.

This is why I am so excited to start working on the Sustainability Champions programme, which will be one of my main focuses this year. The programme helps to embed the ethos of sustainability across campuses, departments and faculties, and helps both staff and students to understand how they can be more sustainable in their work life and beyond. So if you’re interested in becoming a Sustainability Champion, please do get in touch!

I’m delighted to be able to continue my journey at King’s, and to help it become a more sustainable, environmentally friendly university. Most importantly, I look forward to meeting you all, hearing about your ideas and experiences, and working with you to make King’s as sustainable as possible!

Sophia