Blog

8th June 2021
The Environmentalist, the University, Some Plants and a rather brilliant ‘Rubbish Idea’

How a chance conversation developed into an idea that is taking the University of Surrey by storm.

Back in 2018 Green Team Interiors were lucky enough to sponsor an event and talk at the Guildford Book Festival, the book was ‘Turning the tide on Plastic’ and the author was Lucy Siegle. As a company we have, for obvious reason always been keenly aware of environmental issues and the use of resources, the book provided even more inspiration and like all great books, it got us thinking.

Fast forward to 2019 and a conversation involving students at the University of Surrey, members of the estates team and their colleagues at the Centre for Environment and Sustainability. The University are long standing clients of Green Team Interiors and we were delighted to help with their proposed project.

The plan was to reduce office waste by using the tried and tested model of removing individual waste baskets from desks and providing communal bins, recycling was immediately improved and over 100,000 single use plastic bin liners per year were saved… so far, so straightforward.

But here’s the really clever part.

The individual waste bins were immediately identified as potential plant pots, and that’s exactly what they were used for. Green Team Interiors provided plants to the estates team and every bin that was removed from a desk was returned to its previous owner, complete with a low maintenance, great looking plant.

And so, ‘A Rubbish Idea… Transforming Bins into Blooms’ was born and in the very first week of the initial trial, more than 100 University employees and students applied for their own plant.

The reduction in waste was immediate and with over 100 new office plants in place, the University is looking and feeling better than ever, but this is just the beginning. The plan is to roll out the programme across the entire campus and Green Team Interiors will be delivering more plants later this year.

Nicola Rieg, Doctoral Practitioner at the Centre for Environment and Sustainability is justifiably proud of his teams efforts: ‘The opportunity to make a real, and immediate difference has been embraced by everyone at the University, to see such a small idea grow into something so effective has been a genuine pleasure for us all.’

Postscript

We have just heard that ‘A Rubbish Idea, transforming bins into blooms’ will be entered into next year’s Green Gown Awards, the organisation is dedicated to recognising exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world.

We think Lucy Siegle would be proud of our Rubbish Idea!

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