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photo of new bin system at Lboro University

9 Mar 2018

Reduce, reuse and recycle – are you doing your bit?

As National Waste Week is coming to a close - a campaign that sees schools across the UK look at how they can reduce, reuse and recycle redundant materials – the University’s Sustainability team has taken the opportunity to examine what staff and students can do on campus.

Small and simple changes in our everyday lives can have a significant impact to the planet.

Here’s how you can make a difference:

Follow ‘the waste hierarchy’

The waste hierarchy – a standard framework for how waste should be treated - is made up of five sections, ranked top to bottom in order of which has the least negative environmental impact.

  1. Reduce: look for ways to reduce waste in day to day activities
  1. Reuse: consider whether resources can be reused before discarding
  1. Recycle: ensure materials which can be recycled are clean segregated to avoid contamination
  1. Recovery: send waste for anaerobic digestion or incineration which recovers energy
  1. Disposal: landfill and incineration with no energy recovery which is detrimental to the environment.

Awareness of on-the-go food packaging

Convenience sandwich wrappers are notoriously difficult to recycle because of the mixed plastic and cardboard used – similar to disposable coffee cups. Try more environmentally-friendly options such as preparing your own sandwiches that can be stored in a reusable tub.

Napkins, paper towels and wooden drink stirrers are also items that cannot be recycled. Avoid using them where possible, and instead keep a spoon in your bag and car so you always have one on the go.

Although the average lifespan of a straw is just 20 minutes, they can remain in landfill or in the sea for many years, risking life to animals such as sea turtles. Reduce the use of straws by declining the use of one when you’re next out to reduce your waste consumption.  

You’ll have also seen in the news the mention of a potential latte levy. Swap your disposable coffee cups for the Loughborough Cup or another reusable travel mug to avoid the possible charge and help reduce the 1 million cups thrown away each year on campus.

Recycling at University

Did you know over 75% of waste can be recycled? You can find guidance on recycling anything from laboratory glass to cooking oil here. Always take note of the recyclable bins across campus before you dispose of your rubbish.

The Sustainability team also collect unwanted lever Arch files and ring binders, which are then passed onto students for reuse. Please contact if you can help with this when doing your next office clear out.

Further guidance on waste is available on the Sustainability webpages.

For further advice, or if you have any queries or suggestions, please contact Nik Hunt, Environmental Manager on or call 01509 228083.