BORDERS College is one of the first colleges in Scotland to set up and fully implement a zero-to-landfill policy, which sees no waste from Scottish Borders Campus, Newtown St Boswells Campus and the Tweedbank Campus go to landfill, but instead ensures all waste is fully separated for recycling.

The new environmental scheme, which started in April, is part of the Borders College approach to sustainability and waste management strategy to completely eliminate the disposal of waste in landfill.

Katrina Fitzgerald Health and Safety Manager, said: “Landfill is a major source of environmental pollution and releases greenhouse gases, such as methane, which is a potent contributor to climate change.

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“As an organisation that is passionate about sustainability and the environment, we take every opportunity to mitigate any negative impacts that we may have on the environment when we can.

“As part of this scheme, we process not only material from Borders College but also Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles, which is also based at Scottish Borders Campus.”

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Robert Hewitt, Director of Facilities at Scottish Borders Campus, said: “The advantages of this scheme are clear in terms of the recycling. However, our waste now travels less distance for recycling, which has an obvious carbon footprint benefit.

“Previously, recyclable waste from our area went as far as Northern Ireland to be recycled but now only goes to East Lothian for processing.”

Waste is categorised as general waste, DMR (Dry Mixed Recycling), wood, metals and green waste.

General waste is collected and goes through an initial sorting to extract anything that can be recycled.

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Once this is completed, the remaining material goes through a Solid Recovered Fuel process which, once shredded and dried, is used as a fuel source by the likes of Tarmac, who use it to fuel their cement kilns, thus reducing the requirement for any disposal in landfill.

Card, paper, plastic and tin DMR, once segregated, is then completely repurposed for a second use. Wood recycling is used, depending on its grade, for board making or biomass fuel.

All metal waste is separated (aluminium, steel etc) and then moved onto UK metal re-processors for reuse. Green (garden-type) waste is bulked and used for compost. Brick and rubble from our Tweedbank Campus is separated, cleaned or crushed, and then sold to the construction industry for reuse.

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As part of this work, the College will be able to review the amount of material being sent for recycling and work towards reducing this further by, for example, asking suppliers to reduce and package deliveries in a more environmentally friendly way.

Borders College uses the services of Hamilton Waste Recycling, which is Scotland’s first carbon-neutral recycling company, to fulfil the ambitious zero-to-landfill policy.