Hundreds of trees to be planted at Shropshire colleges group

More than 400 trees will be planted by a Shropshire colleges group as part of scheme to reduce its impact on the environment.

Shrewsbury Colleges Group
Shrewsbury Colleges Group

At the end of the month, 420 tree saplings will be delivered by the Woodland Trust to Shrewsbury Colleges Group.

Les Hurdley, the husband of a staff member, is giving up his time to plough two large furrows for the trees to be planted in.

Staff, including governors Christina Gore and Helen Hawksworth, and students including Pablo Ortuno Floria, the Student Union's environmental officer, plus friends and families, have volunteered to come and help plant the trees.

The ‘all year colour’ trees, including rowan trees, dogwood, wild cherry, silver birch, hazel and hawthorne will be planted on the sports field. College groundskeeper Dianne McClean will look after the trees.

As part of the ongoing drive to be more sustainable, the college estates team also carried out a review to see what could be done to reduce the carbon footprint across the three campuses and identify which areas of the college used the most energy and which generate most waste.

To reduce energy use, the college has just completed a lighting refit to replace old lighting at its London Road campus with energy efficient LED units. Paid for by a loan from the Government SALIX Energy fund, this £150,000 investment will save 50 tonnes of Co2 emissions annually.

The three college cafes were identified as the biggest users of single waste consumables, including coffee cups, EPS (polystyrene) containers and plastic cutlery. These have now all been changed to compostable products.

Ted Coxon, commercial manager at the college, said: “We first encourage people to use their own cup, plate or take away box and we stock and offer a Shrewsbury Cup; for a £1 deposit you get a re-useable cup that you can return to and get your deposit back from any participating coffee shop in Shrewsbury.

“Picking up on the Shrewsbury Cup model, we have also introduced the SCG hire box. For £1 people can have their food put in a reusable container, use it, and bring it back; we wash it for them and return their £1 deposit. It’s working really well and staff and students take these efforts, which we have widely communicated with them, very seriously.

“If customers really want a disposable container, we now use compostable cups and take away food containers, but charge 30p and 50p to discourage this and contribute towards the higher cost of the containers.

“Now, if someone forgets, or we have visitors to the college, at least the single use containers are recyclable and compostable and we have all but eliminated single use plastic consumables from our cafes.”

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