Edge Hill University (EHU) is a campus-based public university situated in Ormskirk, Lancashire. The institution was opened on 24th January 1885 as Edge Hill College, the first non-denominational teacher training college for women in England, before admitting its first male students in 1959.
In 2005, Edge Hill was granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Privy Council and became Edge Hill University on 18th May 2006. The university has three faculties: Arts and Sciences, Education and Health and Social Care, which teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
In Summer 2016, EHU published an invitation to tender for a three-year integrated waste management service. Although EHU already had a robust Environmental Management Strategy in place, the FM team was committed to making changes that would further the University’s environmental credentials and make a positive impact on its 160-acre campus. At time of tender, their waste management service involved a waste collection vehicle coming to site six days a week to empty wheelie bins around the campus. The shortfalls of this system included significant carbon footprint, disturbance and noise nuisance to residents, congestion on site, lack of detailed waste data and limited control of waste output.
B&M’s proposal was tailored to enhance EHU’s commitment to sustainable management of waste and recyclate across the campus. Rather than replicate the current service, B&M put forward an innovative system to build on EHU foundations and promote efficiency and environmental improvements as well as bring added value. The new methodology looked to address issues by taking into account the unique nature of the campus, which was viewed as a village with a population of up to 20,000 people any given day. The new waste and recycling programme was built on the idea of introducing one central waste collection point; the mini recycling centre.
Two dedicated waste operatives were implanted on campus five days a week to collect the waste from each location where the vehicles would previously have emptied the bins. Using an electric truck and trailer, they bring each waste container (a mix of general waste, paper and cardboard, dry mixed recycling, food waste and glass waste bins) to the mini recycling centre for sorting.
At the mini recycling centre, the following equipment has been installed to best manage the waste streams:
A static waste compactor for general and residual waste
A mill size baler for paper and cardboard
A smaller baler for plastic bottles and metal cans (with a piercing mechanism for removing liquids)
A hand pallet pump truck for moving bales that is also fitted with a set of scales for recording weights
The FM team organised an environmental awareness day to educate staff and students on the new waste management system, helping to change attitudes through face to face interaction. The FM team’s ongoing promotion of recycling as part of the wider sustainability policy at EHU has brought about a culture change; the University is a community that works to improve its own environmental impact rather than just throwing waste into a bin and waiting for the collection.
New environmental schemes have since been rolled out on campus, including the cigarette recycling programme. All cigarette waste from ashtrays around the campus is collected and sent away for free. It is then recycled to create plastic products and any remaining tobacco and paper is composted.
The new service provided zero waste to landfill from day one and also attained reduced carbon emissions due to reduced waste collection vehicle movements from six days to just once a week. Furthermore, as B&M Waste is Carbon Neutral, EHU’s indirect emissions are completely offset so, by extension, EHU now operates a carbon neutral waste management strategy.
As well as the numerous environmental benefits, the waste management programme has created two new jobs in the form if the on-site waste operatives. They have increased source segregation and, with the support of the FM team and B&M Waste, have helped to bring about the culture change at EHU in relation to recycling. This means EHU is now only for – or receiving a rebate for – the actual quantity of waste that is generated.
A total of 266,049 kg of waste has been collected from EHU and diverted from landfill.