SOUTHAMPTON student Rhianna Wheatley has scooped an academic year’s free travel across the city with bus operator Unilink.

The Southampton University marine biology student was praised for her recycling initiatives – including re-using old cereal boxes to file coursework.

“There are so many ways we can all reduce our carbon footprints and think more carefully about how we can be kinder to the environment,” said university transport manager Adam Tewkesbury.

“We got involved in the recent Recycling Action Week – laying on a number of events, activities and competitions designed to highlight and share recycling and sustainability tips between students and staff here.

“We asked entrants on Facebook to tell us how they reused or recycled materials – rather than simply throwing them away. Rhianna’s was an idea any of us could easily adopt. We’ve already started to introduce some other suggestion from students – including switching from sauce sachets to pumps in our catering areas.

“It may seem like a small change – but these small changes can all add up to make a big difference.”

Richard Tyldsley, general manager of Unilink, said: “There were some great entries – and I for one will be putting Rhianna’s idea to good use. “Leaving the car at home and travelling by bus is another excellent way of helping the environment - by helping reduce congestion and improve the air quality in our city - so this seemed like a great initiative to be involved in.”

Rhianna, 19, added: “I was so pleased to win this prize because it’ll make travelling from Highfield Campus to the National Oceanography Centre for my studies so much easier. I always try and recycle wherever I can – so I was only too happy to share my ideas.”