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Zero landfill – it’s not just a marketing stunt.

As part of our commitment to being a green business, we recently went to “zero landfill” at our Huddersfield andSheffield sites. Now, almost every ounce of rubbish that students produce is recycled. Obviously, this is a good marketing ploy. Today’s students are increasingly making consumer choices based on ethics and sustainability practices: whether the jeans they wear have been made with child labour; whether their make-up has been tested on animals; whether the farmers who grew their coffee or tea were paid a fair wage. So by being an accommodation provider that actively promotes green living, we can differentiate ourselves from other less ethically inclined providers.

Of course, we can’t just expect students to behave in green ways – we also need to give them the tools to do it. So in every flat’s kitchen, we’ve given students two bins: one for general waste, and one for recycling. Then in the bin stores, we’ve put three types of bins for students to sort their waste. We’ve also used our student-facing website DIGS to explain how the system works and what students need to do. And we’ve trained all our reception staff on how to help students do the right thing.

On top of that, students need a good reason to help us with our zero landfill targets. This is one of those rare instances where what works financially for students also works for investors. That’s because it’s actually cheaper for us to recycle all our rubbish than it is to send it to landfill. As a result, our refuse collection bill is plummeting. That has a direct impact on our accommodation costs for students. And it keeps our operational costs down, which means a healthier bottom line and stronger returns for investors. Lower accommodation costs also give us a competitive advantage. So being green isn’t just a marketing stunt – it’s helping us cut costs, maintain high occupancy rates, and turn a bigger profit. Proof then, that businesses don’t have to choose between being making money and behaving in an ethical way.

 

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