South Essex College is committed to sustainability. We actively promote and encourage responsible environmental practices plus seek out sustainable ways of working in all aspects of college life. The college works with individuals, companies, suppliers and employers who also recognise the importance of sustainable practices.


All of our recycling is collected by one waste management company and sorted and recycled back at their site. They are a local company based in Essex, therefore helping us to reduce our carbon footprint.

Food Waste

All of our food waste is recorded and kept to a minimum. This also helps our business sustainability along with our environmental sustainability. Since September 2021 we have been working with Too Good To Go to further reduce our wastage.

Product Supply

We use a hierarchy system when deciding on which suppliers to use and what produce we ask them to procure on our behalf. Our first preference is local (our county or an adjacent county), followed by National and then finally International.

We minimise the number of deliveries we have to each site where possible to cut down on food miles and the associated carbon emissions.


We consider the health of our students and staff as a priority when making any decision.

We offer healthy options in our student/staff dining establishments and try to encourage healthy snacking where possible whilst still providing choice.

We provide free drinking water at all of our sites.


We do not use polystyrene and ensure that all of the plastic packaging we use is ‘closed loop’ PET.

We use paper or cardboard packaging where possible.

We offer charge a paper cup levy for all of our hot beverages. We use paper straws. Our hot beverage cups are fully recyclable and free from plastic and PLA.

Fair trade

We have a fair trade committee that actively seeks to raise awareness with our staff and students and promote the benefits.

We seek out and promote local as well as international fair trade initiatives.


Our communications are mainly electronic rather than paper based and we use video conferencing and conference calling where possible to minimise our carbon footprint.

Get in touch

If you have any ideas on how the college can further increase its commitment to the environment and become more sustainable, please email