Welcome to the blog of the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Northampton. This will keep you up to date with both student and staff activities.

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Geography and Environmental Science students get to know Northampton

After a week of activities at the University campuses, our new students headed into Northampton town centre to start to get to know their new home town.

Given a map to help them navigate, the students walked from Avenue campus to the town centre.  They visited a number of key sites within the town, and collected some information on the large-scale investment currently taking place in the town.  Students visited the new North GateBus Station, considered the strengths and weaknesses of de-pedestrianisation in Abington Street, and identified issues that would be of interest to geographers and environmental scientists.

It was then back to the Newton building at Avenue campus to end the week with a BBQ.  Classes start today…

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

New Geography students volunteer with Planet Too

On their second day at University, our new first year Geographers got stuck in and planted the Food For Thought allotment that has been developed as part of the Planet Too scheme. Planet Too (http://www.northamptonunion.com/planettoo/) is a student-led programme that is designed to change thinking and behaviours around sustainable development at the University.

The students took turns preparing the soil and planting trees and vegetables. After a couple of hours hard work we had changed a patch of bare ground into an allotment growing apples, plums, raspberries, runner beans, broccoli, leeks and lettuces! The allotment will be maintained by Planet Too volunteers over the course of the year.

Planting the Food for Thought allotment

Planet Too stall at Union Day
As well as doing the hard work outside, some members of the class took their places behind the Planet Too stall at the Union Day event. On Union Day representatives from sports teams and student societies provide information to students about the wide range of opportunities and activities they can get involved in alongside their studies. Our intrepid first years persuaded people to sign up for the Student Switch Off campaign, which encourages students to conserve energy in their homes, whether they reside in halls or in off-campus education.

Friday, 19 September 2014

A big welcome to our new students!

We would like to extend a warm welcome to our new students!  We look forward to meeting you all. 
Newton Building

For general information for new students click here.

For information about Welcome Weekend click here.

Welcome Week timetables can be accessed here.

James Sumner Award Winner 2014 Robert Reinhardt attends the International Solid Waste Association World Congress 2014

Robert Reinhardt

My curiosity for waste management started from a young age and has since grown into a subject I am very passionate about. After completing the BA (Hons) Business Studies at the University of Westminster in 2009, I made the decision to study MSc Waste Management at the University of Northampton due to my persistent attraction to solve the unique challenges associated within the field of Waste Management. Over the period of the course, I have developed a strong interest on the research area of electronic waste (e-waste) and this is why I am currently writing my MSc dissertation on the topic of how to build capacity in the informal e-waste recycling sector in Agbogbloshie (Ghana) in order to enable environmentally sound management of these waste streams, often containing both valuable and hazardous components.

As the winner of this year’s James Sumner Award 2014, I attended the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) World Congress 2014 in São Paulo as a delegate of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM). My choice of this congress was not accidental – it was held at the World Trade Center under the key message “(Re) Discovering a New World: Sustainable Solutions for a healthy future” and brought together the international waste community to exchange ideas, experiences, perspectives, trends and case studies related to sustainable waste management in order to develop common visions for the future of a sustainable and healthy world.

The ISWA World Congress 2014 Venue: World Trade Center, São Paulo

The congress began with a welcome speech by ISWA’s president David Newman, underlining how good waste management contributes to a healthy future particularly with regards to the developing world. This was followed by an opening address by the Chairman of the congress Carlos Silva Filho, welcoming all delegates to São Paulo and introducing the three-day multi-disciplinary program including lectures and case study presentations that point out the latest developments in waste management around the world.

ISWA President David Newman, 
CIWM delegate Robert Reinhardt
& Chairman of the ISWA World 
Congress 2014 Carlos Silva Filho

YPG session
The Young Professionals Group
On the first day I attended the special session “New Visions and Innovations on Old Themes”, which was organised by ISWA’s Young Professional Group (YPG). YPG was founded at the ISWA World Congress 2013 in Vienna by 30 young professionals, in order to develop new ideas and initiatives that address the challenges in waste management through engagement with a wider society. The session lasted over four hours and was extremely helpful to myself as never before have I been able to discuss issues around sustainable waste management with people of my age that are passionate about the same topic.

As a result of this session I decided to become a member of the YPG and attended the board meeting on the second day of the congress whereby the future direction of the YPG was discussed, in particular what can be improved and which topics should be presented at the YPG session at the ISWA World Congress 2015 in Antwerp. Also we agreed to set up a YPG website that can serve as a tool of communicating and exchanging our ideas, visions and latest developments to others in the form of e.g. a blog, but also represents a good marketing platform for attracting even more young members. I strongly believe in the importance and success of this group as young professionals not only possess the agile sensitivities and adaptabilities to changes but also lead changes.

YPG after the board meeting

Technical Visit: Indústria Fox
Given my research interest in e-waste, on the second and third day of the congress, I mainly attended scientific presentations on e-waste such as sessions on e-waste case studies in Brazil, China and Nigeria or E-waste management in Brazil and the Basel Convention. During these sessions I met Dr. Philipp Bohr, who holds a PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently the CEO of the e-waste recycling company Indústria Fox (IF). IF was founded in 2009 and is South America’s first-state-of-the-art recycling facility for refrigerators and freezers that focuses on climate protection by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with irresponsible end-of-life management of cooling and freezing appliances. Due to my interest to continue my scientific research in e-waste management as part of a PhD in the future, I introduced myself to Philipp and we had an interesting discussion on e-waste management in the developing world, which led to Philipp inviting me to a technical visit at this company.

The technical visit to Indústria Fox, which is located in Cabreúva just outside of São Paulo, was extremely helpful as I was able to get a practical inside view of a high-tech recycling facility that produces recycled materials and offers end-of-life management services (refrigerator exchange and waste recycling programs).  Philipp showed me around the facility and explained in detail all processes involved: Indústria Fox turns finished products back into raw materials such as copper and aluminum while at the same time capturing and purifying greenhouse gases to avoid further impacts on the ozone layer and global warming.

 Dismantling process of refrigerators and freezers.
At the end of the day Philipp offered me the opportunity to come and work for Indústria Fox in the form of a 6-month internship followed by the possibility to start a PhD in collaboration with a German research university that is currently planning to set up an e-waste research project for 2015. Clearly this site visit was a major benefit for me as I not only extended my network in the global e-waste world but also I may be able to start a PhD in 2015.

Attending the ISWA World Congress 2014 has given me the ideal opportunity to meet global waste management professionals and establish an important network for prospective collaboration in research projects. Furthermore I have strengthened my passion and willingness to get involved in e-waste management work in countries such as Brazil or South Africa. There is no doubt that the opportunities associated with the James Sumner Award are endless and this is why I would recommend that anyone who is eligible should apply.