We want to boost our recycling rate from an average of 37% (2019) to above 50% by 2026. To do this we need everyone to recycle what they can in the correct bins available.

What bins do we have on campus?

We have recycling bins throughout campus; dry mixed recycling, food waste and general waste. These bins can be found in most buildings and on the squares. When the bins get full they are then collected by the cleaning teams and taken down to under podia and put into separate bays, ready to be collected by our waste contractor Veolia.

Here are our tips to make sure materials get recycled:

  • Wash – give items like yoghurt pots and soup tins a quick rinse before popping them in the recycling bin. This ensures that any food or product residue doesn’t contaminate other materials, as they get collected with paper and cardboard.
  • Squash – flat pack cardboard packaging, and squash plastic bottles this makes more room in the bins for more recycling!
  • Put the lid back on – putting the lid back on plastic bottles helps it not get lost on the way to the recycling facility.
  • If you are unsure of where an item goes, check the A-Z of waste and recycling or email us at sustainability@essex.ac.uk

Do you know the difference between biodegradable and compostable?

Biodegradable means that an item can be disintegrated by bacteria, fungi or a biological process. It is a process of nature breaking down materials. Being biodegradable does not make them ‘environmentally friendly’, as plastics technically are biodegradable because it would take over 450 years to disintegrate. Plastic bottles leach microplastics into the surrounding environment when they biodegrade, therefore it is important to reduce your use of plastics as best as you can, dispose of plastic in the correct place and recycle it where you can.

When something is labeled as compostable, it means that the product “can” be turned into compost as long as it's under the correct conditions. When you buy a hot drink on campus from one of the Essex Food outlets they are served in vegware which is made from a plant based material and is commercially compostable. Remember to dispose of any veg ware in the general waste bins on campus.

Do you find recycling symbols on the back of packaging confusing?

Recycle now explains all the labels that you may come across on the back of your packaging. Always make sure that you check the local recycling information to find out what you can recycle in your local area as well as seeing what you can recycle on campus.

If you have any recycling questions then let us know by emailing sustainability@essex.ac.uk