Birmingham’s largest residential conferencing venue, Conference Aston, in conjunction with its catering partner Sodexo, has continued to boost its green credentials with the introduction of ‘WasteLESS week’, a campaign designed to encourage visitors and staff to reduce waste and energy consumption

The campaign, which was set up by facilities-management company Sodexo in 2012, ran for five days in October across all of the company’s own and client sites globally, and aims to encourage consumers to think differently about waste and its effects on the environment. Conference Aston, part of Aston University, has chosen to adopt the initiative permanently, introducing new waste and energy reduction measures across its hotel, meeting and conference spaces. The scheme boosts the academic venue’s environmental management system, which is accredited to ISO 14001 - an internationally recognised standard in environmental performance.

In WasteLESS week alone, Conference Aston reduced its paper usage by 59%, food wastage by 28% and towel laundry by 19%.

With reductions in food waste in its catering facilities, energy reduction across its buildings and a smart new approach to paper wastage, Conference Aston’s building services manager Robert Nowakowski, knows that educating staff and visitors about waste reduction is key to producing tangible results.

“We have reduced our water and electricity consumption significantly in the last year [to September]. By introducing flow-reducing handsets to our hotel showers and responding quickly to any leaks or running taps, we have reduced our water consumption by a third. LED sensor lights in stairwells and public areas have helped us to drop our electricity usage by 11%, but it’s clear that educating our visitors and staff about waste reduction has had the biggest impact on our savings.

“Influencing visitors to switch off lights as they leave rooms, ensuring that we aren’t heating unused rooms, and encouraging guests not to waste food are all fundamental to making an impact. Our committee educates department managers to ensure that all staff are playing their part. By reducing the amount of text on printed contracts, using tablet computers in place of printed documents, and sharing reports on our servers, we can reduce our paper usage. Our reception team now only print out essential parts of their daily reports, saving reams of paper over a year, and we are using adverts and digital screens in our restaurant areas to educate diners on portion control, reducing wastage from our buffet service,” he said.

Conference Aston uses its in-house ‘green wall’ to communicate its environmental targets and achievements to visitors and staff, and the venue is also working with its waste management company to weigh the waste it produces, allowing it to keep track of how much waste it is recycling, and how much goes to landfill.

To find out more about Conference Aston, visit 

PR by Clive Reeves PR Birmingham