Green Aston Blog

Tunnel Closures

User AvatarPosted by Sara Wilkes at 18/07/2014 10:06:44
Kitty Kestrel Bike Logo

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.

Bike Week 2014

Posted by Rebecca Smith at 09/06/2014 11:53:56

Bike week is nearly upon us! This annual event is from Monday 16th June - Friday 20th June and there will be loads of events occurring on campus!

We have a FREE cyclists breakfast for those who have biked into work, just come down to the Main Building reception from 8am - 10am to pick yours up! 

On Wednesday 18th June, we will be holding a second hand bike sale with Cycle Chain, a local social enterprise. Check this out in front of the Main Building Reception (weather dependent!) from 10am - 1pm, and bag yourself a bike at a bargain price! 

On Thursday 19th June, Dr Bike will be on site in front of the Main Building Reception from 12 noon - 2pm. Get your bike checked for FREE! Also the local police will be here to security mark your bikes for FREE too!

For the weeks plan of events please click here.

Top 10 tips to be greener in the office!

Posted by Rebecca Smith at 05/06/2014 15:32:36

Follow these tips to go a shade greener…

1. Think before you print and use double side printing whenever you can. Add a message at the bottom of your email signature, encouraging people to do the same. 

2. When you leave a room, or see any lights left on which are not needed, switch them off. At Aston we are working on fitting occupancy sensors to refurbished areas, but in the meantime everyone can do their bit.

3. If you’re going to be away from your desk for more than 20 minutes, shut down your computer and monitor (at the mains if possible). You can also change the computer energy settings to reduce energy use, for example by setting the sleep mode to come on sooner.

4. Cut down on packaging and save money by bringing lunch to work with you. This is also a great way of using up leftovers, and allows you to ensure that everything you eat is fresh and healthy.

5. Use the recycling boxes provided; around campus there is now a range of recycling bins in place, offering facilities to recycle glass, cans and plastic bottles as well as paper and cardboard. For more information check out the Aston A-Z Recycling Guide.

6. Buy an Aston Mug for Life to use in the catering outlets as well as in your own office. This will reduce the need for paper and plastic vending cups. Alternatively, bring in your own reusable glass.

7. Chill tap water rather than using bottled water for meetings. Plumbed in water coolers are now available to replace the large water bottles, for more information look at the University Buyers Guide.

8. Check out the cycle salary sacrifice scheme run through payroll, or for more information about cycling in general take a look at our Bicycle Users Group (AstBUG).

9. Try leaving your car at home from time to time and see how you get on!

10. Lifts use a huge amount of energy, so if you can, try taking the stairs instead. You’ll be reducing the building’s energy use, and keeping fit at the same time! The same logic applies to the electronically assisted doors as well.

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