Waste tops list of environmental issues for schools

If schools and colleges were to tackle just one aspect of their environmental impact, waste should be the place to start.

That was the view of NetRegs programme manager Richard Martin when he spoke to edie this week.

In an exclusive interview, Mr Martin explained how the free advice service set up to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is now offering specialist support for educational institutions.

He outlined how NetRegs had worked with the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges to prepare the online resources for the sector.

"As a group they have an enormous impact on the environment," he said.

"On the average day there are 12 million people in the UK engaged in some way in education and their estate is enormous.

Educational facilities, he said, had more office space than any other business sector.

The largest single environmental headache for schools and colleges is waste, he said, covering a spectrum of key areas from the obvious such as packaging and food waste through to the less immediately apparent concerns such as how to dispose of hazardous waste from the chemistry labs and groundsman's tool shed.

"Without a doubt waste is the biggest problem," he said.

"There's a great deal they can do and we have a lot of good advice on the website."

This includes a waste directory that points users in the direction of reputable licensed waste management companies, updated against the Environment Agency's database on a monthly basis.

While tackling educations' environmental impact is not all about the carbon, he said, there is plenty of advice on reducing emissions.

He said that larger institutions would be affected by the government's Carbon Reduction Commitment when it comes into force next year and good advice was available on the site that covered their responsibilities.

For more information, see http://www.netregs.gov.uk/businesses/education.

The full interview can be seen below.

Sam Bond


| hazardous waste


Waste & resource management
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