Skipchen food waste recycling

Waste recycling and re-use


2020 strategy targets:

  • UWE Bristol to be wholly integrated in a circular economy, which means that we aim to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life: a positive alternative to a traditional linear economy of make, use, dispose.
  • UWE Bristol to achieve an 95% recovery and recycling rate by 2020.

Increasing re-use - circular economy in practice

The following initiatives represent adoption of circular economy principals in management of the University's material resources:

UWE Bristol furniture re-use scheme: whereby our unwanted furniture can be advertised and claimed by staff members for use at UWE Bristol, at home or by a charity. From 2013/14 to 2016/17, the scheme diverted 116.5 tonnes of waste from landfill disposal, saved the University £493,858 through internal re-use, made furniture donations to charity worth a notional £59,636 and avoided £9,953 waste disposal costs. For information about the scheme email the team at

Annual Big Give campaign: held from April until June at the end of the academic year in which unwanted items and food are collected from students in halls and private accommodation across the city. By the end of June 2017, 12,049 bags were collected (with more to come in the final count.) This equates to a notional figure of £168,686 income from sale of items collected by the British Heart Foundation and 96.4 tonnes saved from landfill.

Recycling facts

In addition to increasing reuse of items, we are recycling an increased amount year on year; in 2015 we achieved a rate of 62%, up from 51% four years ago.

Over the 12 months up to July 2015, UWE Bristol produced 1822 tonnes of rubbish, 62% (1133 tonnes) of this was sent for recycling and reprocessing in factories around the UK and Europe.

Our main material streams are recycled as follows:

Paper and card - go to Bath as the first point of call, then on to various paper mills in the UK for turning back into paper products.

Plastics and cans - go to Bath for initial sorting, then cans go to make new metal items at factories within UK and plastics go on for further sorting.

Glass – bulked up in Bath and then shipped to Portugal for reprocessing into other glass products.

Food waste – used by GENeco to generate electricity for Bristol.

What you can do

  • Support The Students' Union #saynotoplastics campaign - use a reusable water bottle and coffee cup.
  • Buy a reusable bamboo cup at cost for £5 in our cafes and get 20p off hot drinks if you use it instead of a takeaway cup.
  • Join our team of students who work to increase food recycling and decrease food waste in our student accommodation – email Vicki Harris at
  • De-clutter your office using the Office de-clutter guide for helpful tips.
  • Check the A-Z listing for recycling for advice on how to recycle 24 different items.
  • Cut food waste by using leftover food, for recipes visit Love Food Hate Waste.
  • Use the kitchen waste recycling bins in all cafes, staff offices and student accommodation.
  • Contact the Sustainability team for more information.

Student support and study projects

We are keen for students to use our waste and resource management system, (a live repetitive system) as a living learning laboratory for your study projects, research or dissertations. We can support you by providing advice on developing project ideas, data, and waste and resource management industry contacts.

Here are examples of study projects which have helped us to improve the sustainability of UWE Bristol:

  • Feasibility study for diversion of food and green waste to an in-vessel composter.
  • Mapping internal recycling provision, Masters level.
  • Investigation of single use beverage cup usage, PhD level.
  • Investigation into recycling performance and attitudes towards recycling in UWE Bristol’s student flats.
  • Development of a communication campaign aimed at reducing single-use plastic, Masters level.

There are also opportunities for volunteering, student placements and internships. Contact our Waste and Resources manager Paul Roberts at for more information.  

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