9 Jan 2020
Grime Scene Investigation results revealed
November saw the first Grime Scene Investigation of the academic year take place following the success from when it was first launched in 2018.
The recycling and general waste from all 16 halls of residence at the University were audited to find out which are the best recyclers and the worst contaminators.
The day was organised by the Sustainability Team and supported by Charnwood Borough Council, Leicestershire City Council and the University’s waste contractor Enva, and took place outside the Students’ Union.
The event brought together over 30 volunteers from across the University including FREEC reps, Action volunteers and students with a passion for sustainability. They spent the day getting their hands dirty, sorting and weighing the waste and recycling collected.
There were opportunities for students to take part in recycling games for eco-friendly prizes and they could also purchase sustainable products from the zero-waste pop up shop, The Green Pea.
A total of 48 bags of general waste weighing 130kg and 48 bags of recycling weighing 97kg were investigated and the volunteers produced a composition analysis of both waste streams.
The Sustainability team then collected the data and made the following discoveries:
Food waste comprised 51% of the general waste stream in student halls whilst 26% comprised of recyclable material. Only 19% of items put into the general waste were non-recyclable items. This means that 77% of items found in student general waste could have been recycled.
Several halls topped the list for recycling, with Towers correctly segregating 88% of their recycling, Hazlerigg-Rutland with 84%, and The Holt with 83%.
However some halls exhibited high levels of contamination in their recycling with around 50% of their recycling comprising of non-recyclable materials.
Nik Hunt, Environmental Manager for the University commented: “The Grime Scene investigation is a great opportunity for students to understand the importance of recycling correctly.
“When recycling, it is important to empty, rinse, and allow what you are recycling to dry to avoid contamination. This event showcases how food and liquid can contaminate and ruin large quantities of prime recyclable material.
“For example, just a small amount of tomato juice left over in a can could make any paper and cardboard in the bin wet, rendering it unrecyclable.”
Towers was the best overall performer, correctly segregating 68% of their waste and recycling.
A second Grime Scene Investigation has been planned for Wednesday 19 February, which will be undertaken to provide each hall with the chance to improve their initial results and compete against each other in the Green League - the interhall competition which rewards halls for environmentally sustainable behaviour based on three streams: recycling, energy reduction and proactivity.
Students can improve their score by checking out the University’s A-Z guide on hall recycling.
Promoting Positive Change
The event not only helps students understand the importance of recycling but encourages them to think about the kinds of materials they use in their daily life, and the amount of waste they create.
James Phenix, student and Director of Operations at The Green Pea said: ”The Grime Scene Investigation is an eye-opening experience of just how much packaging and plastic waste we produce as students.
“At The Green Pea we're trying to help students make sustainable swaps and reduce their plastic footprint so having a stall on the day was a great opportunity for us to bridge the gap between the problem and a solution.”
The Green Pea is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11am-3.30pm in the Cube at the Students’ Union.
If you’re interested in sustainability and want to get involved in the next Grime Scene Investigation or any other events the team run, please email email@example.com.