Southampton grows greener

October 5, 2007

Bill Wakeham, the vice-chancellor of Southampton University, has ditched his Porsche - during work hours at least - for a fuel-efficient eco-friendly car as part of a drive to boost the university's green credentials.

Professor Wakeham is trialling the car, which he is using for his short commute to and from work, and to travel between the university's six campuses in Southampton and Winchester.

It is hoped that the car will eventually be shared by all senior managers and academics to make 60-miles-per-gallon journeys of up to 13 miles between some sites.

The vice-chancellor's small sacrifice was confirmed this week as the university launched a research project to find the best ways of encouraging students to recycle. Even a small increase in recycling by the country's 2 million students would dramatically reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill, the researchers believe.

Ian Williams, deputy head of the School of Civil Engineering and the Environment, is overseeing the study. He said: "In Southampton, students make up 18 per cent of the population. Their impact on waste generation is enormous.

"Little systematic research has been done on this topic, but the indications are that young people, especially students, are very poor at recycling, mainly because they frequently move to different accommodation and they tend not to have experience of waste management."

The three-year study aims to assess the current recycling practice of waste in university halls, evaluate various recycling schemes tested in halls and produce a best-practice case study for use by other universities.

Dr Williams said: "To our knowledge, only two waste audits have been conducted at student halls. One was conducted at Southampton, which recorded a composition of 25 per cent paper and card, 9 per cent plastics and 3 per cent cans."

The other waste audit was been done by a London community recycling project (Crisp) at two self-catered halls at the London School of Economics and at Queen Mary, University of London.

Crisp estimates that each student has 10-12kg of reuseable items to dispose of at the end of each summer term.

Register to continue

Why register?

  • Registration is free and only takes a moment
  • Once registered, you can read 3 articles a month
  • Sign up for our newsletter
Please Login or Register to read this article.