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Launched in 2018, Global Recycling Day was created to help recognise and raise awareness about the global issue of recycling. Global Recycling Day has reached more than 600 million people across the world through activities and media hits in 2018 and 2019, with a target to reach 1 billion people by 2020. 

Every year, the earth yields billions of tonnes of natural resources to transform into consumables, and at some point, in the not too distant future, it will run out. Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses considerably less energy than that required for producing new products from raw materials – even when comparing all associated costs, like transport.

Climate change is the most significant environmental issue of our time. We must act to preserve our planet’s future and protect the Earth’s valuable natural resources. Recycling saves more CO2 emissions each year than those generated by the entire aviation industry! That is why raising awareness about recycling, including educating everyone about recycling best practice, is crucial to tackling climate change.

Here at the University we are preventing, re-using and recycling our waste for a better future. As part of our commitment to reducing our negative impacts on the environment, we employ the waste hierarchy. The waste hierarchy ranks waste management options according to what is best for the environment. 

Prevention

An easy way for us to prevent waste in the first place is to bring in a reusable water bottle or coffee cup. Your water bottle can be filled up at one of the water fountains that are located around our campuses. As of July 2019, over 400,000 water bottles had been saved through the use of our water fountains. Using your reusable coffee cups at the University will not only prevent waste, but it will also save you 20p on every purchase!

Re-use

There are plenty of opportunities to re-use around the University. Whether it be re-using envelopes, folders and paper, or even furniture and IT equipment. There are a number of items, including clothing and books, that can also be donated to The British Heart Foundation across campus. There are collection points by the tennis courts on Parkgate Road and outside the Fitness Centre on Warrington Campus. 

Recycling

The opportunities to recycle across the University are endless! Paper, cardboard, cans and plastic bottles/tubs can be recycled across the University in one of the mixed recycling bins. Please make sure that your bottles are empty and your tubs are clean. Glass and food waste can also be recycled at Parkgate Road, Kingsway, Riverside, Queens Park, Warrington and Thornton. Please contact Green Chester if you would like a re-useable bag to carry your glass safely or a food caddy to start recycling your food waste. There are also a variety of other items that can recycled, including batteries, printer cartridges, wood and electrical items, so please take a look at the A-Z of waste page for a full list of waste streams that can be recycled. 

The University is currently running a number of initiatives to both encourage and raise awareness around recycling. Some of these include TerraCycle crisp packet recycling, Moby the fish for plastic bottles and the first ever waste audit at the University. 

TerraCycle Crisp Packet Recycling

Crisp packets are not currently recyclable via conventional recycling collections. Walkers and TerraCycle teamed up in 2018 to introduce the first UK-wide recycling initiative for crisp packets. The crisp packet recycling scheme was first introduced at the University by Lauren Holmes at Seaborne Library, and Megan McCarthy at Riverside Library in February 2019. The scheme soon took off and became increasingly popular. Lauren, Megan and their colleagues soon started to be inundated with crisp packets and would have to sort and count them themselves before boxing up for collection. The scheme has become so popular that we now have collection points across every campus. Since the introduction of the scheme in February 2019, the University has recycled 21,798 crisp packets which would have otherwise ended up in the general waste bins and sent for incineration. These empty bags of crisps will now go off and be recycled into items such as park benches, plant pots and watering cans. 

Moby the Fish

Those of you on Parkgate Road might be familiar with Moby the fish who has been made out of reclaimed metal work by a local Welding Academy. Moby was commissioned by Ian White (Domestic Bursar/Executive Director) and the Hospitality and Residential Services team to encourage the recycling of plastic bottles and to raise awareness of the damage plastic can have on marine life. Some of the bottles in Moby will be re-used at the University’s family fun day and be turned into bee hotels, whilst the rest of them will be recycled. The long-term goal would be to operate higher up the waste hierarchy and remove the need for plastic bottles completely. But for now, we should do every we can to make sure that all plastic bottles are being recycled.

Waste Audits

The University’s first waste audit took place at Kingsway, Creative Campus, during Go Green Week on Thursday 27.02.2020. The waste audit was intended to determine the amounts and types of waste that are being thrown away as general waste. This will help us identify how much recyclable material is currently being disposed of in the general waste bins. The waste audit showed us that there is still a lot of work to be done regarding recycling. There were numerous recyclable items found in the general waste bags, including plastic bottles, cans, paper and cardboard. In fact, 60.83% of what was found in the bags should have been recycled. A report will be available in the coming days on the Recycling and Waste Management pages on the University’s website for you to look at.  

The University of Chester welcomes any suggestions for improving recycling across its estate. If you have any questions, suggestions or would like help or advice with your recycling, the University’s Sustainability Unit are happy to help and can be contacted by emailing Green Chester. You can also find us on portal and social media by searching ‘Green Chester’. 

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