We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and improve sustainability across our campus

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Green Campus

As a University, we hold people, the planet and all living things in the highest regard. Our strategy commits us to reducing our environmental impact and improving sustainability across the institution. Our third strategic priority for 2015 to 2020 is sustain - we are committed to making a positive environmental impact and contributing to a sustainable future. This is reflected across the institution – from the curriculum to our estate to the food we serve on campus. Read our Sustainability Statement.

In June 2019, the University of Winchester announced its pledge to eliminate all unnecessary single-use plastic by December 2020 and called on individuals and the higher education sector to stand up and take action to combat the climate crisis. 

Biodiversity Action Plan

The University's Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) sets out the University's plans to create and enhance habitats and support wildlife across our campuses. We implemented our first BAP in 2012 in partnership with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Projects completed included the creation of a wildlife pond, a butterfly garden, the allotments, wildflower planting and native hedgerow planting. The BAP was updated in 2016, after which followed a suite of surveys of King Alfred and West Downs quarters, and then again in 2021. This revision reflects the increasing hedgehog population on campus, following dedicated efforts by our students reflected in our Hedgehog Friendly Bronze and Silver status.

BAP projects completed

In conjunction with the Wildlife Trust and the Students' Union, students and staff volunteers have taken part in small mammal monitoring, sycamore clearance in our wooded copse and pond clearance during 2017/18. We built three new hedgehog nest boxes for the campus, installed a camera in a great tit nest box and created new long grass habitats by reducing mowing regimes. In the summer of 2018, volunteers from Hampshire Swifts surveyed the University campus and all University Managed Houses in the Winchester to establish Swift nesting locations. In Spring 2019, student volunteers worked with Hampshire Swifts to build new Swift nest boxes. Installation on University buildings and student properties across Winchester was interrupted by the Pandemic, but should be in place by Spring 2022 providing new nest sites for these magical birds.

Our wildflower banks continue to thrive and many areas of campus have been left unmowed in 2020 and 2021 to encourage and provide food for invertebrates. We are also delighted to have joined the Hedgehog Friendly Campus (HFC) scheme in October 2019, and have now attained both the Bronze and Silver HFC Awards.

Environmental Management System

The University of Winchester is currently working towards implementing the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS). We are doing so using the EcoCampus framework. Reporting to senior management, an EMS Oversight Committee is in the process of being established and in 2021, we have identified our Environmental Aspects and produced a Legal Register. A PESTLE analysis of the Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental factors influencing the University will follow this Autumn, incorporating views from senior management and our students. 

King Alfred centre with grass and flowers

Waste and recycling

The University is in an innovative waste and recycling contract with the Universities of Southampton, Solent, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Bournemouth Arts and Southampton City College. Together, we form the South Coast Affinity Group (SCAG) and share our services, expertise and vision of waste management, focusing on reuse and recycling.

The University's recycling rate in 2019/20 was 52%. This is up from 14% in January 2009. In 2018/19 the University recycling rate was 64%, a significant improvement , however, as a result of the global pandemic, our recycling rate decreased in 2019/20. Due to collapsing markets for recyclable materials and staffing levels due to the national furlough scheme, the waste contractor was forced to send all recycling to incineration. Despite this the University still managed to achieve a 52% recycling rate.
The University achieved zero waste to landfill in 2013 and all waste which cannot be recycled is sent for energy recovery.

We operate a three-bin system across campus and in halls of residence for dry mixed recycling, general waste and food waste. Food waste from Halls or Residence and our catering outlets and office kitchens is sent for anaerobic digestion and our waste cooking oil is converted into biodiesel. We collect milk bottle tops for New Forest Mencap and have separate recycling collections for pens, corks, crisp packets and biscuit and cracker wrappers. Gumdrop bins for recycling chewing gum located across the campuses are currently suspended but will return after the Pandemic.

In 2021, the University published its Eliminating Single Use Plastics Strategy which will be driven forward by the appointment of a Waste Minimisation Officer this Autumn.

Food waste from our catering outlets and office kitchens is sent for anaerobic digestion and our waste cooking oil is converted into Bio-diesel. We collect milk bottle tops for New Forest Mencap and there are Gum-drop bins located across the campuses for recycling chewing gum.

Reducing our coffee cup waste

Since November 2016, the University has been working to reduce its disposable coffee cup use by implementing a 25p surcharge on all hot and cold drinks sold in disposable cups in our café outlets, and giving away reusable cups to all staff and students. In two years, this has saved over 72,000 disposable cups from being used on campus! An average of 33 drinks in 100 are now served in a reusable cup, up from just 3 in 100 in 2015/16. Our reusable cups are Gum-tec Americano mugs - made of 20% chewing gum (around 42 pieces per cup). The chewing gum we collect on campus is sent to Gumdrop to then be recycled into the Gum-tec mugs. A great example of closed-loop recycling in action!

Our coffee cup initiative has won three national awards, featured on the BBC and been selected as one of the UK’s 100 best breakthroughs in the MadeAtUni campaign. 

Bag It Up

Between April and June the University runs an end-of-year move-out project, supporting students to donate unwanted items to a good cause when they move out of halls of residence. Students are provided with bags and stickers for clothing, bedding, homeware, kitchenware, books and other items. Bags are collected weekly from halls and donated to Emmaus Hampshire - a social enterprise community for the homeless based in Winchester.

In 2018, we donated 677 bags of items to Emmaus Hampshire, weighing in at 3.1 tonnes. In addition, Southampton Basics Bank received 50 bags of unopened packets and tins of food.

Our green awards...

  • Green Impact Gold Award – Winchester City Council scheme 2018
  • National Recycling Awards 2018. Winner of Campaign of the Year – Public/Third Sector. The University of Winchester - ‘Chew fancy a brew?’ - A coffee cup campaign
  • Awards for Excellent in Waste Management 2018. Winner of Waste Management Initiative In The Retail, Commercial And Public Sector. ‘Chew Fancy a Brew?’ The University of Winchester’s Coffee Cup Initiative
  • Shortlisted for the Reduce, Reuse Recycle award at the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s ‘Food Made Good’ Awards 2018
  • Green Gown Awards 2017 – Winner of the Food & Drink category for our reusable coffee cup initiative.
  • Social Enterprise Gold Mark 2017
  • British Quality Foundation Sustainable Future Award 2016
  • Green Impact National Award for Innovation and Engagement (Marshall Rose Library) 2016
  • Winchester Carbon Smart Gold 2015