QMSU's Green Impact

Find out how we're getting more green!

As part of Queen Mary Students' Union's ongoing commitment to making the Students’ Union a more green and sustainable organisation, we have put a list together of the five most significant areas of the Students' Union that have a negative environmental impact, with plans on how we can mitigate them.

The five areas that the Students' Union has identified and what it is doing to mitigate their impact:

Electricity Usage

As a multi-site Student’s Union, it is very hard to keep track of the electricity usage. However, in order to reduce its electricity consumption and therefore its carbon footprint, the Students' Union is making plans to replace all halogen light bulbs by LED, which last much longer and use far less energy than traditional lightbulbs, reducing both energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Food waste

In order to reduce food waste, the Students’ Union outlets have been working alongside student volunteers to donate food to the Hackney Winter Night Shelter that would otherwise be thrown away at the end of the day. Also, on April 2017, we launched the Too Good To Go app on campus, an innovative social enterprise that aims to put an end to food waste in the hospitality industry. It allows students and staff to buy food at a cheaper price than usual from both our outlets and local restaurants. On the other hand, Students' Union Outlets are currently looking for companies that recycle coffee grains, which would otherwise end up in landfill. Following student feedback, we will work alongside the local recycling companies to place food waste bins in campus and will lobby the University to do the same in halls of residences.

Printing

We have created an email signature for staff which will remind them to avoid printing emails and encouraging everybody to stay electronic and as paper-free as possible. Furthermore, internal printing is made with 100% recycled paper and the Students' Unions’ Communications and Marketing team has made a commitment to have 50% of the Students' Unions’ printed materials printed on sustainable and recycled materials in three years. Lastly, even though we provide free printing for students, these are also encouraged to print only if necessary and reminded to recycle what they have printed once they no longer need it.

Single use plastic items

To tackle the issue of disposable items made of plastic, such as cups or cutlery, we introduced the “bring your own mug” discount, which saves thousands of paper cups and it is considering switching to compostable disposables and introduce a food waste bin in all Students' Union venues across campus. Also, following student feedback, plastic straws have been substituted by paper ones, which are compostable and much more sustainable. Furthermore, concerns have been raised regarding the Meal Deal offer, which encourages students to purchase bottled drinks to qualify for the deal. This issue has been brought to the attention of the Students' Union Commercial Services team, who are currently considering the possibility of modifying the Meal Deal and have an alternative option for costumers with reusable bottles. Finally, the Students' Union has worked collaboratively with the University to install more water fountains across campus and it is considering introducing a reverse recycling machine, to encourage recycling and reduce plastic going to landfill.

Recycling

In 2016, the Students' Union introduced a new cup recycling scheme through Simply Cups, which are designed to be recycled into brand new and useful products, rather than ending up in landfill. Recently the Students' Union requested the company to give some feedback, and find out whether if the cup is disposed alongside with the lid, it won’t be recycled. The Students' Union then requested feedback from its Student Staff in order to seek options and alternatives to make sure the cups are properly recycled. The Simply Cups recycling system will be relaunched at the beginning of next academic year to guarantee the student community is aware of it and disposes of our coffee cups accordingly.