I have always loved nature and the environment but never hada job that centres around my passion until I started working at St MarksShopping Centre where I have been working for over 7 years. I work in an office managing day to dayfinances so when the opportunity arose for me to get involved in some small wildlifeprojects on site I jumped at the chance. I really wanted to increase myknowledge in Environmental awareness and sustainability so when I saw onlinethe IEMA course in 2017 and what it could lead to I was excited. Sustainabilityis such a growing issue and I approached my employer who supported me and funded thiscourse as it would be beneficial in the long term. I completed the course online, in my own timein 6 months and it was flexible to fit in with work and afterwards, after I passedmy exam, I was rewarded with the AIEMA status. In April last year, I wasrecognised for my qualification and I was given a new, enhanced job title andsignificant pay rise as well.
The knowledge I had gained from the course had beenimplemented into my new job title of Operations Co-ordinator as I was thengiven the tasks of anything to do with sustainability on our site. Carbon reduction was one of my challenges andchanging our lighting scheme to LEDs over the whole site led to a reduction ofenergy consumption by over 44%. Otherinitiatives included dusk till dawn sensors across common areas, PIRs in theservice yards and closing our upper deck car park early so lights were then setto a timer. I wanted to also engage ourtenants and I introduced a quarterly competition where the biggest Kilowatt perSqm reduction compared to the same time the previous year would win High Streetvouchers and there was a 16% reduction in tenantselectricity as aresult. I regularly send anenvironmental newsletter to them, so they are always well informed.
As an outdoor scheme where we are not in control of tenantwaste, so our recycling rate currently sat at 25%. I wanted to increase this and with the helpof our cleaning team some changes were made. Segregating the waste further from general and recycling bins resultedin additional recycling as often cardboard and paper was put in the wrongbins. A lot of general waste wasgenerated in the form of coffee cups so in order to reduce this I wanted toimplement coffee cup recycling. I askedone of our suppliers if they could adapt their outdoor bins to accommodatecoffee cups and they were able to do this. I organised some signage that could perhaps educate our customers and asthere were no coffee cup collection services in the area I arranged with one ofour tenants who currently have their coffee cups collected. As a result we have increased recycling from25% to 42% and this is rising. InFebruary our recycling was 47% and 55% in March.
On the subject of recycling, chewing gum is a big issue forour site and takes some cleaning. I sawa company who have produced bins that are bright pink and look like a giant gumball. What was even better was that theyrecycled the gum into products such as reusable cups, pens, pencils, rulers andeven wellington boots so there is a product at the end. I realise that there will be some educatingof people changing their habits to make a success of this but quite confidentthat this can be implemented into a wider education of recycling so I amcurrently in the process of launching a recycling event and a local school willbe designing signage for our bins.
In November, I was nominated and won Responsible PropertyManagement Sustainability Champion 2018 which was a fantastic achievement andhas gained me recognition within the organisation that I work for and I feltthat gaining the further knowledge through training was one of the biggestcontributors and helped me to progress my career further.
Please note: the views expressed in this blog are those of the individual contributing member, and are not necessarily representative of the views of IEMA or any professional institutions with which IEMA is associated.
Posted on 18th April 2019
Written by Laura Shamsuzzaman
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