Leading university employs pioneering recycling scheme to remove 40,000 plastic bottles from local community


A PIONEERING recycling initiative at a leading Scottish university will help remove more than 40,000 plastic bottles from the local community.

A glass bottling system has been installed by the university to provide bottled water for the catering that is delivered across the campus. It hopes to remove the reliance on single-use plastic bottled water by 19,000 units annually.

The University of St Andrews is in partnership with BRITA, the world’s leading water filter and dispenser company, who have installed self-service still and sparkling water dispensing units at three cafes for students and staff.

The water dispensing unit is estimated to save an additional 21,000 single-use plastic bottles.

Water bottling facility at Agnes Blackadder Hall
Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of St Andrews with Gemma McNicoll-Brown, Event Operations Delivered Catering Assistant Manager and University of St Andrews bottled water. Image supplied

The installation of the BRITA Vivreau’s Table Water Bottling Systems dispenser will allow for glass bottling of unlimited quantities of pure, chilled still and sparkling water.

This eliminates the need to purchase environmentally unfriendly and expensive pre-bottled waters.

The water bottling system substantially reduces the cost of purchasing single-use, pre-bottled waters and also eliminates the need to transport and store bottled water.

Gemma McNicoll-Brown the university’s events operations of delivered catering assistant manager said: “Sustainability is a key element in the University’s new Strategic Plan. We strive to work with businesses whose principles and commitments to the environment and sustainability align with our own.

“Our new partnership with BRITA is the first in many new green initiatives we will be implementing across the University to play our part in a greener future.

“The elimination of single-use plastic bottles of water is our first step towards making a cleaner, greener and sustainable future for staff, students and the local community.”

The University has a long-term goal to have zero food waste to land fill and is currently in the process of installing its own composter on site.

Additional green initiatives undertaken by the University include the move to replace disposable products to recyclable or compostable alternatives where possible within retail outlets and delivered catering. During summer graduation, the University composted over one ton of food waste.