Green efforts get the silver stamp of approval

From cutting down on waste to monitoring their energy use, when it comes to doing their bit for planet, the Education Training Collective (Etc.) is leading by example.

Efforts to up their green credentials have now been officially recognised, as the college group has received the Investors in the Environment (IIE) Silver Award.

It’s good news for students and staff who, inspired to do their bit both in college and at home, are learning valuable lessons along the way.

“It has been hard work,” said the group’s executive director for planning and infrastructure, Phil Hastie. “But it has brought people together in a shared desire to make positive change, with the potential to make a much wider impact on our environment.”

Determined to make a sustainable impact the group, which incorporates Stockton Riverside College, Redcar and Cleveland College, Bede Sixth Form, NETA Training and The Skills Academy, started their green agenda with small changes such as reducing the number of plastic bottles in the fridges, rewarding the use of reusable cups in their cafes and swapping single-use plastic cutlery for more sustainable options.

A team of like-minded individuals was set up to lead the movement and as a result, ideas have been much bolder and more ambitious.

A pledge to reduce the carbon footprint of the Etc. by improving sustainability, increasing recycling and cutting back on general waste and energy consumption, is now starting to reach fruition.

Having previously achieve the IIE Bronze Award in 2019, Phil said: “Our Green Initiatives Group has been a real force for good. To reach silver status has taken a further push from us as an organisation and from a team of dedicated and forward-thinking individuals.”

The college group has now introduced new environmental policies including a travel plan, it is monitoring its use of electricity, water, gas and fleet vehicles with specific targets in place, and is also tracking general and recycling waste.

Phil explained: “Our food waste from across all of our sites is now disposed of and anaerobically digested, significantly reducing waste to landfill.”

Now setting their sights on the IIE Green Award, he added: “There’s much more to be done.

“As an education provider at the heart of our communities we have a great platform to help people learn and understand the small changes they can make that will collectively have a massive impact on our environment.”