Green Aston Blog

University achieves ISO14001 & EcoCampus Platinum.

User AvatarPosted by Rebecca Smith at 11/11/2014 16:29:20

We are delighted to announce that after a tough two and a half days audit, the Energy, Environment and Sustainability Team have been accredited to the International Standard of 14001 as well as the EcoCampus Platinum standard.  We have held the EcoCampus Platinum standard since 2012, however it was decided that we could combine this audit with the ISO14001 standard.

Both of these awards are for our 'Environmental Management System' (EMS.) This system is a way that we can manage and reduce our impacts to the environment at the same time as improving our environmental performance and ensuring legal compliance. 

A big thank you to all those that have helped us along the way! 

Introducing the face behind Aston's Go Green campaign: Kitty the Kestrel!

Posted by Sara Wilkes at 06/10/2014 12:40:20

You may have seen this logo around campus and wondered what it means? Kitty the Kestrel is our environmental mascot, used to promote sustainability to staff and students around campus. 

But you may be asking: why a bird has been used to promote environmental issues?!

The bird in question is a kestrel, a bird of prey which is a protected species in the UK.  The logo is inspired by generations of kestrels that have been nesting on our Main Building for over 30 years!

We’re proud that our university, located in an urban Birmingham city centre, provides a home for these birds and so we decided to use this in our Go Green branding. The name ‘Kitty’ was chosen by entries submitted in a competition during Go Green Week 2014.

You may also have heard about Kestrel Cam, which is a live camera feed to the kestrel nest. The nest is quiet at the moment but keep a watch out in spring time when the kestrels will hopefully lay another batch of eggs! There is also a Twitter feed to keep you up to date: @AstonKestrels

 Find out how you can get involved with the Aston Campus Wildlife Group.

Look out for Kitty the Kestrel around campus and on social media – she has lots of tips to help you reduce your impact on the environment! 

Tunnel Closures

Posted by Sara Wilkes at 18/07/2014 10:06:44

With the upcoming closures of the tunnels at St Chad’s and Queensway (18 July to 1st September), the Environment & Sustainability Team would like to encourage staff to look at alternative options than driving.

We can all imagine the scenario: the roads will be packed with slow or stationary cars going nowhere. Wouldn’t it be liberating to pass the stressed, irritated and trapped motorists on your bike? Get to work on time, with reliable and consistent journey times regardless of the traffic circumstances.

You’ll save money on fuel costs, feel fitter and healthier, lower stress levels and be more environmentally friendly.

The university has facilities and cycling schemes to support cyclists:

Cycle to work is a salary conversion scheme helping employees to buy a bike and safety equipment free of income tax and national insurance, offering significant savings on a new bike.
- Reduced price “D lock” bike locks to ensure your bike’s safety while parked in one of our many cycle shelters, £10 locks are available from security. Note: no bike has been stolen from campus to date that has been locked properly with a D lock.
- Cyclists changing room, including showers, lockers and a drying area for when you arrive.
- Bicyclist users group (AstBUG) which can offer support and advice regarding cycling – contact t.m.a.hooton@aston.ac.ukor environment@aston.ac.uk
- For a cycling/walking maps contact environment@aston.ac.uk

Check out discounted ticket offers from Network West Midlands and National Express. Virgin Trains will also have a Park and Ride scheme at Coventry, Birmingham International and Wolverhampton

In summary, avoid the queues: walk, cycle or travel by public transport to avoid the queues! 

Bike Week Competition Winner!

Posted by Sara Wilkes at 11/07/2014 11:23:13

We have a winner!

As Bike Week is about promoting everyday cycling, we decided on an entry that showed the greener side of commuting in Birmingham. The city has a range of traffic-free routes into the city centre and, of course, numerous canals to navigate. 

The winning entry shows that your daily commute doesn't have to involve packed trains and traffic jams and there are plenty of cycle routes where you don't have to tackle busy roads. Hopefully this will inspire a few others to bike to campus!

For cycling routes around the city check out Birmingham City Council's Cycling Map. There's also the Top Tube Map with all the traffic free routes in the city. You may also be eligible for free bike training with Bike Right - great if you need a bit of a refresher.

The competition runner-up represents the more extreme side to cycling! The blog entry was about a staff member's 'After Work Mini Bivi' during Bike Week: an epic overnight journey which ended with a well-deserved free breakfast!

We hope you enjoyed Bike Week - thank you to everyone who entered the competition and those who attended events.

More opportunities to recycle at home!

Posted by Rebecca Smith at 27/06/2014 11:54:32
If you live in Birmingham in a private house (not including student accommodation e.g. in ASV halls on campus) did you know that you can now recycle more in your kerbside bin?

Birmingham City Council have up until now only been able to accept plastic bottles, tin cans, glass bottles, paper and card for recycling, however now households can recycle their plastic pots, tubs, food trays and aluminium foil within their green recycling bins or in their recycling wheelie bin (depending on where you live)  (Note: black plastic, all types of plastic bags, wrappers, polystyrene, Tetra Paks and other non packaging related items e.g. toys, washing up bowls and buckets still can not be recycled-this is due to there being many different types of plastic and not all of it can be recycled at present.)

It has been suggested that residents wash and squash used plastic bottles, tubs, foil and food trays and pop them in their recycling box or recycling bin, along with their used tins, cans and glass bottles.  The plastic that is collected at the kerbside is taken to a recycling facility near Wolverhampton and the waste is sorted into the various grade of plastics. 

This is a positive step made by the Council and hopefully will encourage more people to get involved and recycle!

For more information take a look at the webpages here.

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