University signs deal to help launch new recycling campaign

The University of Plymouth and the University of Plymouth Students’ Union have launched a new campaign to increase the amount of recycling taking place across the estate.

It follows the signing of a new five-year contract with Viridor that will see new bins being installed across all of its Devon sites that will make it simpler for staff and students to recycle.

From early February, a new mixed recycling collection programme will be in place, meaning that all recyclable materials with the exception of glass can be put in a single green bin.

All hazardous and non-hazardous waste, including laboratory and clinical waste, will be processed at local materials recovery and energy recovery facilities, guaranteeing a zero to landfill solution. 

Professor Judith Petts, CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: 

“We are a university that is deeply committed to sustainability, and that is reflected across our curriculum, through our research, and in the way we operate our campus and estate. We have set ourselves some challenging targets in areas such as waste reduction and recycling and these latest measures support this ambition.”
Students and staff were consulted last year as part of a full review of collection services, and their feedback used to shape the new recycling scheme. All internal and external waste containers are now being rebranded, with clear instructions on what can and cannot be rerecycled. Campus cleaning teams have also been trained to help respond to recycling enquires, and a number of promotional events scheduled to help raise staff and student awareness.

Viridor Account Manager (South West) Ian Poyser said: 

“Viridor is committed to providing high quality services and innovation while delivering significant cost savings to the University over the term of contract. As a graduate of the University it is wonderful to come back and make a positive difference.”

The new recycling campaign is also urging students and staff to ‘Ditch the Disposables’ and bring re-usable cups to the University’s catering outlets, receiving a 10p discount on drinks.

“We know that our students are passionate about recycling – and indeed we know some students choose to come to Plymouth because of its reputation in the realm of sustainability,” 

said Lowri Jones, President of the University of Plymouth Students’ Union. 

“So this joint project between our students, UPSU, the University and Viridor, moving to a mixed recycling model, is a very positive change and one that will make it easier for everyone to recycle. And we’re going further to tackle the issue of disposable cups, which are often not recyclable, by working with our catering outlets to introduce a discount on hot drinks served in reusable cups from 1 February. We will also be encouraging the use of reusable water bottles and the water fountains we have across campus.”