Our overriding ambition is to reduce the amount of waste we produce on campus and to ensure that any waste we do generate is dealt with in a sustainable and responsible manner. We have already committed to this in the University's Environmental Policy, which states that we will minimse waste and continue to take positive steps to adopt the waste hierarchy to: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Responsibly Dispose.
The Waste Hierarchy sets out waste management options in order of their environmental impacts, giving priority to the prevention of waste, while highlighting how we can gain added value from resources through re-use, recycling and recovery. View the Waste Hierarchy here.
Unfortunately it isn't always possible to avoid or reuse materials, subsequently the following strategies have been developed to increase recycling and reduce the amount of general waste being sent for inciniration.
The Bin the Bin Campaign was rolled out across the University in November 2016, introducing centralised waste recycling points across all University buildings. These centralised recycling points replaced individual waste bins that were previously located in classrooms, lecture theatres and under desks. This initiative helps the University to reduce the amount of general waste, and maximise the volume of Dry Mixed Recycling (DMR). Furthermore, this scheme has also dramatically reduced the amount of plastic bin bags used and disposed of!
A new initiative to increase recycling across the University’s catering outlets has been introduced to encourage the recycling of plastic bottles. As part of this scheme a separate bin has been provided to catering outlets exclusively for plastic bottles. This ensures that all plastic milk bottles are being recycled, as opposed to being disposed of in general waste.
2019 has seen the implementation of a new scheme to recycle waste coffee grounds across the University’s catering outlets. These coffee grounds are being used across campus for composting and as a fertiliser by our Grounds Maintenance Team, as well as by the Students Union Allotment and Garden Society (formally known as HarvestHud) at Storthes Hall Park. The use of coffee grounds on our landscaped areas has an array of benefits including increased plant growth and health, as well as improved soil health.
Before the initiative was implemented, over 300kg of coffee waste was generated each week across the universities 12 catering outlets, with over 88,000 cups of coffee sold annually. This waste was sent for incineration along with the rest of the general waste from campus, at a cost for the university and generating carbon in the process. This is therefore a great initiative both environmentally and economically for the University.
In September 2017 a new contract with Sonoco Alcore introduced 2 cardboard skips to the University, encouraging departments to flatten their cardboard and place it in to the skips as opposed to the dry mixed recycling bins. This segregation of cardboard removed over 26,000kg of cardboard last year alone! The success of this new waste stream has encouraged us to begin rolling out a new scheme across offices in the University, where staff members segregate their paper and cardboard waste at source. Although this has only been introduced across two buildings on campus we have already seen a big difference in our recycling figgures and are excited to see the effect this has when expanded across the whole University estate!
Across campus little pink pods have appeared... These pink pods are made from recycled chewing gum and are used to collect used chewing gum on campus. Once full these GumDrops are taken away and recycled into new products, including pencils, rulers, wellies and lunch boxes!
A new scheme has also reduced the amount of food waste that enters our general waste. Any food waste generated in the University's kitchen that cannot be frozen or donated is now taken away in speacialist receptacles to a plant in Doncaster where it undergoes a proccess called anaerobic degestion. This process biologically breaks down organic matter, transforming the liquid produced into a bio-fertiliser to be used in agricultural processes.
The University has partenered up with the Battery Back Scheme to allow staff and students to recycle portable household-style batteries on campus. Batteries are classed as hazardous waste and should not be placed in normal waste bins. The battery bins can take any sixe of waste portable battery, and both rechargable and non-rechargable versions, including but not exclusive to:
Some portable batteries contain hazardous materials, however they are safe if handled correctly. Discarded batteries can also present a very small risk of fire and source of ignition. Please follow these simple instructions to stay safe:
There are multiple battery drop off location across campus, check here for your nearest bin.
Click here to view the full A-Z
The University has made a conscious effort to reduce and reuse the materials used on campus, take a look at some of the examples below:
Here are a few hints and tips to help you cut down the waste you generate...