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Waste and recycling

Recycling at BU is very important and relies on everyone doing their bit to stop, think and recycle.

As well as recycling we also ask people to consider the full waste reduction hierarchy which challenges people to reduce and reuse before they consider recycling.

BU sends none of its waste to landfill with any non-recyclable waste being sent instead to an energy recovery facility to generate power.

Waste Audit

Every year an internal waste audit is done with student volunteers to highlight the importance of recycling and identify problem areas for recycling. Using this information we are able to make changes such as introducing new bins or refreshing bin signage to make it easier for people to recycle correctly.

Based in the Student Centre, the waste audit involved the students sorting through 22 bags of Dry-Mixed Recycling and Non-Recyclable Waste which were selected at random from each of the waste compounds around the University.


Approximately 50 % of the waste in the General Waste could have been recycled if it had been put in the Dry- Mixed Recycling. The remaining 50% was too contaminated to recycle.

Food waste in the General Waste was down– 23% to 12% between 2016 & 2018 audits, due to an increase in food waste bins being deployed across campuses.  The roll out of twin bins, which incorporate both food waste and recyclables, in café areas has also played a key role in increasing our overall food waste being sent for anaerobic digestion. 

How to get involved

Check the BU website and SUBU Sustainability page for opportunities to volunteer with the Green Taskforce and the Sustainability Team. The Green Taskforce have organised a number of waste related campaigns and projects over the past few years including a ‘Ban the Straw’ Campaign and beach clean work.

Opportunities to take part in the next Waste Audit will be advertised in early 2019 on the SUBU Volunteering page.

How does this help BU?

Understanding how staff and students use our bins is vital to ensure effective recycling. We send zero waste to landfill and anything that cannot be recycled is sent for energy recovery.

Once off-site the dry mixed recycling will be sorted into different material groups with any remaining waste which can’t be recycled being sent for energy recovery. All non-recyclable waste will also go for energy recovery with nothing going to landfill. All food waste is anaerobically digested at a facility in Dorset in a process that also generates energy.

BU is part of the South Coast Affinity Group - a group of local universities who work together and have received national recognition for its innovative approach to waste management. In 2017/18 we recycled over 70% of our waste.

More about how to recycle at BU

Recycling at BU is simple. Stop. Think. Recycle.

Dry-Mixed Recycling: All your everyday waste items free from food or liquid.

  • You don’t need to worry too much about crumbs as they will not contaminate a bag of dry mixed recycling however half a cup of coffee or your leftover lunch will.

Food Recycling: Just food, no packaging.

Non-Recyclable Waste: A last resort for contaminated items.

Other waste: Batteries, Electronics, Hazardous Waste and Bulky Waste need to be recycled at special collection points.

Please contact the Sustainability Team if you have any questions about recycling.