What is the uni recycling policy?

Katarzyna Sliwinska submitted on

Wednesday 23rd May 2018


I see many mixed recycling bins. There is no information on what exactly counts as recyclable, which would be useful for myself as well for for throusands of students from different countries, form different regions of the UK, whose assumptions about recycling may differ.

There aren't many general waste bins for things that can't be recycled.

How do recycling startegies differ across campuses? On avenue campus there are only recycling bins, so people put all rubbish in there, because they have no other option.


Let's keep this space positive and respectful! Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions, but please remember to keep the conversation friendly and avoid any offensive comments.

Isabella Camilleri submitted on

Friday 10th August 2018


Hi Katarzyna, 

The Estates and Facilities team has forwarded me this information, I hope you find it useful. 

Reducing waste and boosting recycling

We’re working to reduce the amount of waste produced on our campuses and to improve recycling rates.  We operate a two-bin recycling system in our office, catering and teaching spaces - one bin for food waste, and one bin for virtually everything else.

The mixed waste is sorted off site at a materials recycling facility.  Any waste that can’t be recycled is sent to an energy from waste facility so that energy and heat can be recovered.

Our food waste is sent for anaerobic digestion, which breaks down biodegradable materials using micro-organisms, producing gases that can be used to generate electricity and heat. The gases would otherwise be released into the atmosphere if the food were sent to a landfill.


Essentially, if there are no food stuffs, wet items or liquids disposed of in the Mixed Recycling bin, all the contents can all be taken as recyclate.  However, this does not mean that it will all be recycled.  All the dry materials collected as recyclate are sent to our waste management contractors Materials Recycling Facility (MRF).  Here, all the materials that can be recycled are segregated in to individual streams, such as glass, paper, metal, food grade plastics, etc. and they will be transferred on for recycling.  Items such as crisp packets, coffee cups and low-grade plastics, which cannot currently be recycled easily, are also segregated and these are diverted to be used as Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF).  Therefore, we do not need general waste bins.


While this approach generally works, we have had some problems in some locations (mainly catering outlets) with liquids and other wet items being placed in the mixed recycling bins.  Contamination of the recyclable materials reduces the amounts that can be recovered.  Therefore, we are currently trialling a three-bin system (Recyclables, Food and General Waste)This is being trialled at Winchester, but to date it has not proving itself to be better (or worse) than the two-bin system at reducing contamination.  This may be down to the local management of the bins and we will be continuing with the trial.  If factual evidence is found to show it is more efficient in avoiding contamination and increasing the amounts recycled, we will look at extending the system.


Information about the University’s recycling system is published in the Welcome packs issued to newly arriving students at our Halls of Residence each year and further details can be found here https://www.southampton.ac.uk/estates/what-we-do/waste-and-recycling.page




Best wishes, 


Isabella Camilleri

VP Welfare