BU has an ambitious target to recycle 80% of its waste by July 2020; the good news is that we’re firmly on track to reach this, as we’re currently recycling 75% of our waste. BU is committed to upholding the UN Sustainable Goals, and recycling waste correctly adheres to Goal 12 – responsible consumption and production.
Although we’re clearly doing well in lots of areas, there’s still room for improvement. The question is; what can you do to help reach this target?
Avoid contamination in recycling bins
During BU’s latest waste audit, it was discovered that 70% of the dry mixed recycling collected on Talbot Campus was contaminated by liquids or food.
Contamination happens when non-recyclable items are mixed in with recyclable items, or when recyclable items are placed in the wrong recycling bins. Innocent looking paper smeared with food or grease cannot be processed with clean paper and too much contamination is the reason manufacturers reject tons of recyclable paper each year.
But how can you avoid contamination?
- There are different bins around the campuses for various types of recycling. These are all clearly labelled – please double check the signs on each bin to make sure you’re putting the correct waste in each one
- Any leftover liquids need to be disposed of down a sink and any leftover food should be placed in the food bins provided
- Rinse out any bottles or plastic/cardboard boxes before placing them in the bin.
Reduce the amount of waste you create
Although it’s our aim to hit an 80% recycling target by next July, it’s also really important to reduce our waste ahead of recycling and simple changes can have a huge effect:
- Use reusable mugs
- Instead of using the paper coffee cups at our outlets, why not take your own mug? Not only will you get 25p off of each hot drink, but you’ll help to reduce the waste in the first place. Mugs can be bought at various catering outlets on both campuses and the SUBU shop for £3.70
- If you don’t have a reusable cup, or it’s tricky to take one out with you, you can always ask for a ceramic mug in the Fusion Building on Talbot Campus and the Executive Business Centre on Lansdowne Campus
- Reduce paper waste by cancelling unwanted mail – you can usually unsubscribe online
- Cardboard, newspaper and bubble wrap can all be used as packing materials. Paper and envelopes can be used as scrap paper for making notes
- Buy products that can be reused – buy bottles instead of cans and rechargeable batteries. Items like these create very little waste as they don’t have to be thrown away after they’ve been used just once
- Buy products with little packaging – so less packaging ends up in your bin
- Give away unwanted items –friends might be able to repurpose your old binders or folders. If you have any extra clothes that you’re looking to get rid of, take them to a charity shop or a local textile recycling bank.
If you have any queries about how to reduce – reuse – recycle at BU, please email [email protected].