Students moving off campus and into the community for the first time are often faced with having to learn a new recycling system which is different to their family home area. This can occasionally lead to confusion within a shared student house and sometimes lead to the wrong thing being put in the wrong bin. When this happens it is regarded as ‘recycle bin contamination’ and causes problems for that household, the environment and the wider community. A contaminated bin gets all contents diverted away from the recycling centre and instead goes to be processed as general surplus waste.
A completely refreshed and emboldened campaign to reduce recycle bin contamination has been launched for this year. Building on the university’s strong campus sustainability imagery, a new recycling hero helps educate students to not bin the top contaminated items, plastic bags and greasy takeaway containers, along with a QR code to the City Council website for more information.
Student Ambassadors made over 1,700 individual house visits across Lenton, Dunkirk and Radford to engage with residents on the importance of recycling and how to avoid costly contamination. As part of the campaign, Ambassadors were tasked to place an A4-sized vinyl information sticker on nearly 2,000 separate recycling wheelie bins that will help as a quick and useful visual reminder. Ambassadors were also kept busy with litter-picking duties on roads that needed a tidy-up.
The campaign included an audit of all waste facilities and over 200 waste facility issues have been reported to the City Council Housing Licence and Compliance team for potential follow-up action by the landlord or managing agent.
Helping residents recycle more effectively is an important step in ensuring Nottingham City Council achieve its ambitious Carbon Neutral city status by 2028.