Sustainable Initiatives

It’s National Student Money Week (NSMW) this week! With this year’s theme being ‘Live Healthy, Spend Healthy’, we thought this would be a great time to recap some of the excellent sustainable initiatives taking place on campus.

The University is always working hard to reduce its environmental impacts and aid its students in leading healthier lives while also saving money.


  • Discounted bus travel for students who are eligible for Boost saving tickets.
  • RUSU’s bike hire scheme for only £30 per term, with a £100 deposit.
  • The University offers free bicycle maintenance checks monthly – with minor repairs taking place immediately. Also, free cycle training, for those who have never cycled to those who want to learn advanced cycle safety.
  • 3 bike repair stations on Whiteknights (Library and Agriculture) and London Rd (The Dairy) campuses. They have the tools required to fix minor issues such as tire punctures, refitting chains etc.
  • RUSU have launched a car sharing FB group for students – uorcommutingstudents.


  • Catering are working towards reducing plastics and have made the following progress: catering now have one bottle provider that offers fully recyclable plastic (REPT) which will help provide a circular economy. The theory/hope is that these bottles will never go into landfill and will be reused throughout their lifetime.
  • Catering services have now added a 20p charge for using a disposable cup – they have a variety of reusable coffee cups available to buy in their outlets for less than £6. Catering have now removed the option to have paper cups delivered for catered events.
  • 60,000 disposable coffee cups were saved in 2019 through the Sustain It cup initiative.
  • There is a food market every Thursday in 3Sixty where a variety of loose fruit, veg and bread is available to buy.
  • Think Fairtrade! The University supports Fairtrade – every bar and café outlet offers Fairtrade tea and coffee. Procurement have also purchased several Fairphones (our VC also uses one!).
  • You can find out more about delivering sustainable hospitality activities here.


Energy and Water

  • All the electricity purchased by the University of Reading is from renewable sources.Our total solar PV capacity is now 346 kWp, which equaltes to 1,390 solar panels. We are expecting them to generate 300,000 kWh annually.
  • The University has exceeded over 40% reductions in carbon emissions since 2008/9. This has saved roughly £30 million in revenue.
  • UPP share lots of energy and water saving tips for students living in halls for example: Fill a kettle with the number of cups needed, stop dripping taps and reporting any leaks:
  • Students should be mindful of the EPC rating of their building (or potential new building) and appliances. The better the rating, the more environmentally (and financially) friendly it will be!


Home habits:

  • Currently, the recycling rate for the University is 50%, less than 1% of our waste goes to landfill. All of our general waste is sent to an energy from waste plant.
  • There are free feminine hygiene products available in Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU).
  • If students have any concerns with housing i.e. finding a flat, jargon in contracts, they can talk to an advisor in RUSU. The advisors have excellent information about housing and can review potential tenancy contracts with students and explain what everything means. This can help protect students from financial pitfalls.
  • There are lots of sustainably inclined societies that students can be involved in – secret garden society, zero waste society and ruddy society. Zero Waste society in particular have held events such as clothes swaps and charity shop crawls.


As part of NSMW, the Student Financial Support Team is running a campaign alongside Blackbullion to encourage students to bring their own lunch into uni and reduce plastic. To get involved in the competition, collect a #zerowastejar from the Carrington Building and pack your lunch. Make sure to post a pic to either Twitter or Instagram to be eligible to win a Fitness Tracker.


Thank you to our friends in Sustainability Services who helped put this information together and check out for more tips too.

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