Glyndwr University Case Study
Glyndwr University based in Wrexham might be small, but it is mighty! Find out some of their great initiatives and simple ideas
Jenny Thomas, the Senior Safety, Health and Environment Officer, has spearheaded the university’s journey to reducing single use plastic. Green Glyndwr is all about Sustainability at Wrexham Glyndwr University and works collaboratively with the Student Union and staff through the Sustainability Action Working Group.
Alongside this, the Students’ Union has been working hard on the sustainability agenda and it achieved “Excellent” in the 2020/21 Green Impact Awards with support and partnership from the University and the Sustainability Action Working Group. The Green Impact panel recognised how small the institution is and commended the great partnership between both organisations in this area.
Go Green Week
Green Glyndwr got involved with the Refill Wales Campaign as part of their ‘Go Green Week’ in 2020. Go Green Week saw the running of various events, including a display in the main reception where a refill scheme was promoted.
Staff and students could take a free water bottle in exchange for an idea about how the University could be more sustainable. Initially six refill stations were added to the Refill App and following that two more have been added in additional University buildings.
To continue with the refill message, at the start of the new academic term Green Glyndwr ran a competition for freshers – asking students to use the app to find out how many refill stations were available at the University with a prize of a reusable water bottle.
Eliminating single-use plastic
Jenny has worked closely with the Refill Wrexham scheme which is led by Plastic Free Wrexham to help raise awareness of the campaign with staff and students. Glyndwr University signed up as Plastic Free Community Champion to support the effort to make Wrexham an accredited Plastic Free Community. As well as championing refill schemes, the University has taken some simple steps to eliminate single use plastics including discontinuing the provision of plastic cups for water fountains, and encouraging people to eat in the canteen rather than take away – but if they really feel they want to take away, switching to vegware containers.
Prior to Covid, the catering facilities were charging 20p surcharge when disposable cups were used for hot drinks. In collaboration with Aramark, Green Glyndwr is using the fund collected to buy refillable cups to give to new staff and students free of charge.
Reducing plastic, one coffee at a time
Since the project was started in 2019 about 28% of all out hot drinks were sold in reusable cups which saved more than 31,000 cups going into the bin. Huskups have been ordered ready for the next academic term and the team are looking forward to chatting to new students about Refill and University sustainability projects at the Freshers Fair. Look out for hot drinks refills to be added to the refill app when the scheme is relaunched in the autumn term.
More recently, the University was awarded funding from the Welsh Government Circular Economy fund, which allowed it to purchase colour coded recycling bins for the whole University. The bins are made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and the aim of the project is to increase the percentage of waste recycled by the University, and making it easier to recycle at the same time.
In conjunction with Aramark, Wrexham Glyndwr University is planning to introduce new eco-friendly food containers at its catering outlets aimed at cutting single-use waste. The University’s Eco-Club was due to launch in March 2020 but was put on hold as a result of the pandemic. When the main canteen re-opens, the project will be reinstated with the aim to offer reusable, returnable takeaway containers which will be part-funded through a small levy on the disposable single-use takeaway containers.
Another project Aramark and the Student Union had been working on together was to donate in-date, good quality food to students if there was any remaining at the end of the week which would otherwise have gone to waste.
Committed to improving sustainability
Glyndwr University is committed to improving sustainability performance and has worked hard to raise 85 places in the People and Planet University League in the last 4 years. Under the umbrella of the University Sustainability Strategy and Campus 2025 project, the team is planning a range of major environmental and sustainable improvements across campuses including carbon, energy and waste reduction targets, biodiversity improvement projects and implementing the plan to include sustainability across all educational programmes. With the energy, enthusiasm and collaboration shown across the staff and student community, we are sure Glyndwr University will be getting even greener.