ABDO College Going Greener
ABDO College is celebrating the success of a major boost to its ongoing campaign to be more environmentally friendly. By moving as much of its work online as possible, the College is saving over 475,000 sheets of paper each year.
The College’s head of operations, Steve Hertz, emphasised that the two largest areas of progress in the campaign are in the coursework and application processes. “This is the first year that all ABDO College courses will be online, meaning not only that all students will have access to the extra resources and support that the virtual learning platform brings, but with the old coursework folders being over 500 pages long, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the paper savings are enormous,” he emphasised.
“The online application system, which went live in May, has reduced the amount of paper used, not only at the College but also with the applicants themselves,” he added. “In previous years, many applications were 10 to 15 pages long by the time exam certificates, supervisor declarations, personal details and practice information were provided. Multiply this up by almost 1,000 students and once again, the impact cannot be understated.”
The move online has inspired the College to look further at boosting its green credentials. Over 9,000 plastic cups were used last year and the College is seeking to reduce that by issuing new cups for each block release student this month. “Our other major area of focus is in single use plastics, inspired by the swell of public support for the campaigns of Messer Attenborough, Fearnley-Whittingstall et al,” said Steve. “The College drinks machines are very popular, and the number of plastic cups used is staggering, even though the majority of these cups are in fact recyclable. However, the issue of getting them to the appropriate facility has always been difficult, with so many bins around the building being general waste.
“In order to combat this issue, we will be giving every student that attends a block release with us their own re-usable, sustainably sourced, bamboo drinks tumbler cup. This will be compatible with the drinks machine and will be suitable for hot and cold drinks and available in a choice of colours. Cups and bottles will be available from reception for those students who need extras. We are also purchasing extra recycling bins to enable any appropriate bottles, containers, wrappers etc that the students bring in with them, to be disposed of more effectively,” he concluded.
One department that has been environmentally friendly for a long time is the College bookshop. Bookshop administrator, Justin Hall, explained: “All the book orders have been sent out using environmentally-aware packaging pretty much since day one. Cardboard boxes and cardboard book packages are used with bio-degradable filler chips, if required, for larger orders. This loose fill is produced from wheat or vegetable starch. The chips resemble traditional polystyrene packing but are far better for the environment than their polystyrene counterpart. This biodegradable loose fill is odourless, dust free, biodegradable, compostable, reusable or disposable. The only thing I use that isn’t recyclable currently is the tape used to stick the boxes together, but I’m working on that one. We all need to be doing our bit to reduce how much plastic we use, for everyone’s sake.”
ABDO College will continue to look at ways to reduce its impact on the environment on an ongoing basis.