A sustainable success story

Gary Mills, Business Development Manager, Leafield Environmental, on how sustainability in HE shows no sign of slowing down

How does Leafield work within UK Higher Education?

Leafield has been developing ideas and building strong relationships with universities in recent years, including Greenwich, Coventry, Loughborough and Bath Spa.

Our flagship Meridian recycling bin was born because Greenwich University couldn’t find an ‘off the peg’ solution suitable for its diverse mix of faculty buildings. The Meridian offers up to three waste streams in one compact flat-backed unit which takes up much less space than individual recycling bins. The bin can with adapted with waste apertures to fit the needs of different locations from lecture theatres and classrooms to libraries and kitchens.

Universities like to work with us because we listen and provide support from first brief and design stage through to installation.

How has HE changed since you’ve been working with universities?

Sales of our recycling bins to HE and FE premises has increased by more than 1000% in the past year reflecting the importance of efficient waste management as part of the sector’s wider sustainability strategy.

A change in funding structures and extra competition to attract UK and overseas students is also driving a significant investment in campus facilities and student halls of residence. Traditionally our recycling bins have been a feature in faculty buildings and office areas but now we are also working on exciting new projects to develop unique space saving concepts for student accommodation.

How are you catering for these changes?

We are letting universities know we are here to help using tactical marketing and networking through consortiums and sustainability bodies such as EAUC. Much of our university enquiries come through word-of-mouth recommendations and more than 2000 Meridian and Mini-Meridian bins have already been installed in universities up and down the country since they launched in 2012.

The Meridian range is just one success story, Leafield recently teamed up with Bath Spa University as part of its commitment to the EcoCampus scheme to develop a ‘bag free’ recycling bin. The EcoAce looks great in any modern setting and can be made from 95% recycled plastic.

Do you think sustainability will continue to be an important theme in HE in the future?

Sales of recycling bins reached a record high in 2013 and show no signs of slowing down. Our Envirobin 100 is still the most popular product for the HE market supported by a healthy 50% growth in sales the past two years.

Universities are becoming more aware of the impact their operations have on the wider community and employing tactics to reduce their carbon footprint. There are significant environmental benefits as well as cost savings to be made by cutting the volume of waste going to landfill. Installing a more efficient waste management system with clear signage can drive up recycling by more than 50% in just a few months.


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