Both the University and our Department take waste and recycling very seriously.
There are three main targets:
- To send zero non-hazardous waste to landfill by 2020.
- To achieve continuous year-on-year reductions in waste arising per FTE staff and students.
- To recycle at least 95% of total waste produced at the University by 2016.
Before our building was closed last March due to the Coronavirus lockdowns, we ran frequent awareness campaigns with recycling posters across in all areas of the building including kitchen areas. Paper recycling bins were located in corridors and mixed recycling bins in the kitchens. There were also recycling and reusing collections arranged for print cartridges, batteries and stationery.
We also encourage staff and students to follow these:
Seven simple principles for encouraging recycling
1. Clearly labelled
All bins should be labelled with up-to-date signage so that users are well informed. Ideally have a label on the bin showing what goes in it. If space is short, opt for one large, clear label with the waste stream name (e.g. Dry Mixed Recycling), and a ‘what goes in this bin’ label displayed nearby. Don't over-label an area so that it becomes confusing.
Reduce the number of bins overall, cutting out individual bins for each staff member or workstation. Individual bins encourage thoughtless disposal, but also require lining by paper or plastic, increasing waste generation and contamination, and take longer for cleaners to empty.
Recycling bins should outnumber general waste bins, so that recycling is favoured. Communal ‘bin stations’ with one of each main stream (e.g. recycling, general and food) are preferable to single separate bins, as they allow staff to make the right choice at the point of disposal.
Opt for ‘bin stations’ in well-frequented areas or near waste generating activities, such as kitchens, canteens and print rooms. If a common waste stream is found in that area (for instance paper towels in a kitchen, crisp packets near a vending machine, or paper near a printer), consider a specific notice on disposal.
5. Sufficiently large
Avoid overflow by ensuring recycling bins are as large as general waste. Food waste bins in particular should be right-sized to prevent unsightly overflow.
Keep recycling bins consistent in their colour and style throughout your building so they are easily identifiable. If not every bin matches style or colour, ensure labelling is clear.
7. Lined with the correct lining
Where linings are used for bins, a clear plastic bag should be used for recyclable waste, and black for general waste. As well as supporting cleaners and waste contractors to identify wastes in transit, this acts as a subtle hint to staff and students.
As the department building is still closed due to covid restrictions, the majority of staff are working remotely, but they are still encouraged to consider how they personally reduce waste and recycle at home. The University's Spotlight on Campaign for the Lent Term 2021 was on Waste, and particularly the reduction of single use plastic. For more information see the Sustainability Team's webpages: Recycling and Waste