In March 2017, RGU Go Green was awarded more than £145,000 from the Keep Scotland Beautiful Climate Challenge Fund. This initiative in Scotland aims to reduce our carbon footprint and Go Green is busy working away to ensure they are successful in doing so.
To be awarded the money Go Green had to estimate just how much carbon they were saving. They managed to reduce their carbon footprint through re-using and repurposing unwanted items and through education.
Caroline Gausden, Engagement Co-ordinator, said: “It’s like an alternative economy, it's not in terms of cash but in carbon.” She also mentioned that clothes have a huge carbon cost.
Last year the team focussed on the Zero Waste Café that produces meals with a low carbon cost and they worked with food banks to help reduce landfill. They also introduced Veg Bags to campus, where students can order fresh local produce every second week and pick it up from just outside the Union, on Union Terrace Way.
Some of the funding is going into helping support the bags and go towards an electric van or cargo bike that will enable the team to deliver the bags to halls. To produce the food for the café and the bags, members work in allotments to grow and harvest fresh fruit and vegetables.
Go Green help with the Bike Pad where you can learn how to look after your bike and they repair old donated bikes, so they can be used in the Bike Hire scheme.
Caroline explained that the Veg Bags, the Zero Waste Café and the Bike Hire are all run by LiveEco now, which is a community produced by Go Green so that they can run the existing projects while Go Green focus on their new ones. However, Go Green still help out with their old projects and support LiveEco.
This year they’re involved in a project called RGU:Revolve. This is about combating waste and giving items a second chance. There is a massive amount of items going to landfill and Go Green is determined to combat it. Even recycling still has a carbon cost, so repairing and swapping would help reduce that cost.
Go Green have focussed on transforming Kaim Cottage into “a positive social space where new skills can be picked up.” Explained Caroline. Kaim Cottage is where you will find the new co-operative which includes a swap-shop, where you can donate, swap and take clothes and household goods, and where Go Green host many of their workshops, including textile repairs and homemade crafts.
Go Green is applying to the Keep Scotland Beautiful Challenge again next year and Caroline said that if they are not successful the projects should be self-sufficient because of the training which allows the volunteers to keep going.
If you would like to become involved in Go Green you will learn new skills, earn volunteer hours and become a part of their ever-growing community.
Email them firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit https://www.rguunion.co.uk/about/campaigns/gogreen/ to find out more.