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Revolutionising waste at West Herts College

Watford campus background

Staff and students have set out to revolutionise the way waste materials are managed at West Herts College, across its three campuses in Watford, Hemel Hempstead and Kings Langley, by teaming up with local recycling champions, Cawleys Waste Management.

Claire Fisher, West Herts College Contract Coordinator, says:

“Our college strives for better waste management, ensuring more resources are collected and reused rather than wasted or ended up polluting our environment.”

“In our efforts to maximise recycling across our three campuses we found a new partner in Cawleys Waste Management, who understand our needs and are able to help spur us on.”

Cawleys Waste Management, a third-generation family business, which recently celebrated its 70th anniversary, will work with staff and students to help increase recycling over the next four years.

Kicking off with Recycling Week in September, Cawleys account manager, Sam Southey, will be running a series of workshops for students explaining what happens once they put their magazine, drinks can or apple core into the bin.

Sam will also host regular ‘Waste Awareness Days’ at the beginning of each school year as a reminder of the importance of recycling.

West Herts College offers apprenticeships and BTEC courses to students aged 16 and above and all three campuses will participate in Cawleys’ new ‘Infinity’ programme, which encourages personnel to separate waste at the point of disposal.

By segregating waste early on, this means less contamination between waste streams and will allow Cawleys to extract more valuable resources.  Cawleys will collect the individual bags of recycling using their dedicated Infinity vehicle to ensure that each waste stream remains isolated during transportation and ensures that the college achieves a high recycling rate.

Sam comments: “To make sure we’re recovering as many waste resources as possible, it’s essential that we do not allow waste to become contaminated. For example, if a food container leaks in a recycling bin, it can degrade the other resources, such as paper or cardboard, which then cannot be reprocessed efficiently.”

In areas where segregating waste simply is not an option, Cawleys will process the waste through its Materials Recycling Facility, helping to separate waste for recycling. Finally, anything that cannot be recovered will be sent to an energy from waste (EfW) plant to produce renewable fuels.

As well as the general waste collected in the campuses’ recycling bins, Cawleys will also collect food waste from the college’s onsite restaurants and coffee shop.

Food waste will be sent to anaerobic digestion and used to make fertiliser. For every tonne of food waste sent to AD, the college will save over 905 kilograms of carbon being emitted – the equivalent of taking 12 cars of the road.

Claire adds: “As a college, it’s our job to ensure that the next generation feel empowered to do their bit to protect and safeguard the environment. By developing good habits at college, we hope they’ll continue at home and throughout life”

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