5 ways you can reduce your waste during your time at Surrey!

Hello everyone!

I am Cemsu and I am currently doing my MSc on Sustainable Development at University of Surrey as well as assisting the Sustainability Team increase student engagement around sustainability. As the importance of environmental sustainability grows, more students are seeking ways to reduce their waste. In this blog, I will be talking about ways of reducing your waste during your time at Surrey and some of the sustainability initiatives I like.

Avoid plastic and opt for reusables when you can

When you first start at Surrey, the Students’ Union give everyone a reusable water bottle during Freshers Fair. You can fill up your bottle around the campus, reducing your waste associated with buying single-use plastic.

If you have a reusable coffee cup, you can also get a discount on your hot drink at coffee places across campus. These small actions really make a big difference to reducing the estimated 100 billion pieces of plastic thrown out across the UK every year (Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic, 2022)

Filling my Surrey Union water bottle at the Teaching Block!

Use the correct bins!

The university has three main waste streams- food waste, glass and all other waste. Waste put in the all other waste bin gets taken off-site and is segregated by a local contractor, ensuring the university achieves a 99% diversion from landfill rate.

One way you can improve your recycling rate is by putting food waste in food waste bins and try to give food packaging a rinse as the food waste put in our all other waste bins contaminates the waste so it cannot be recycled.

If you are planning to move out of university accommodation for your second year, you should familiarise yourself with:

How to recycle properly at home

as your rubbish will not be sorted out for you anymore.

Reduce your food waste

To reduce food waste, you can plan your meals ahead and only buy the ingredients you need to avoid over purchasing of perishable items. Moreover, opting for foods with minimal packaging or packaging that is easily recyclable, or biodegradable helps to reduce the waste associated with your everyday purchases. A good option is going to Thursday farmers market at Rubix! where they use minimal packaging, as well as the farmers market in town every Friday and Saturday.

Thursday Farmers Market at Students Union Building, Rubix!

Every Thursday and Friday from 16:30 to 18:30 you can also go to the Community Hub on campus and pick up free leftover fresh food from campus food outlets!

Buy second hand & donate

In addition, instead of buying new, you can explore second hand options. The University has a Community Hub on campus where you can buy anything for £1 only. It is open from 9:30-5:30 every Monday, Thursday and Friday. From homeware to clothing, electronics to food, you can find everything you need whilst supporting a circular economy.

Community Hub on Campus

Guildford also has lots of charity shops which I personally love exploring. Not only does buying second hand save money, but also extends the lifespan of existing products and reduces the demand for new resources.

In addition, Facebook groups like Guildford Eco Exchange are a great way to get some cool stuff for free and help eliminate waste. You can join on https://www.facebook.com/groups/1609037336080773/?locale=en_GB By incorporating these practices into your daily lives, you can help reduce waste. Remember, every small change counts!

Thank you for reading,