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 80 per cent recycling rate by 2020.
Increasing re-use - circular economy in practice
The following initiatives represent adoption of circular economy principals in management of previously discarded resources:
WARPit our own corporate recycling network: this online tool enables staff to advertise unwanted UWE Bristol-owned items for donation or loan within the university, and if not needed, donation to local charities.
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. In 2014/2015, the scheme diverted 44 tonnes of waste from disposal, with an estimated 105 tonnes of avoided CO2 emissions and £170,000 saved in procurement and disposal costs.
Annual Big Give campaign: at the end of the academic year in which unwanted items and food are collected from students in halls and private accommodation. In 2015, 9.7 tonnes of unwanted goods were collected – the equivalent of approximately £17,000 income for the British Heart Foundation generated from the sale of the items.
In addition to increasing re-use of items, we are recycling an increased amount year on year; in 2015 we achieved a rate of 62 per cent, up from 51 per cent four years ago.
Over the 12 months up to July 2015, UWE Bristol produced 1822 tonnes of rubbish, 62 per cent (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 for £4 for in our cafes and shops and get 10p off hot drinks in our cafes.
- Use The Students' Union swap shops on all campuses.
- Join our team of students who work to increase food recycling and decrease food waste in our student accommodation – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
- Sign up to WARPit and help us to re-use everything from files to desks.
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.
- Investigation of single use beverage cup usage.
- 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.
There are also opportunities for volunteering, student placements and internships. Contact our Waste and Resources manager Paul Roberts email@example.com for more information.