Please, no more bags - tackling recycling in Nottingham City

Students promoting please no more bags campaign in front of a wheelie bin

In an effort to tackle bin contamination and stagnating recycling rates the Off-Campus team recently led on engagement days throughout Lenton and Radford including Lenton Drives and Lenton Triangle.

Over the last two decades, the household waste recycling rate in England has increased significantly from just 11.2 percent to 43.5 percent (download excel dataset here). However, England still falls short of the EU target of recycling a minimum of 50 percent of its household waste by 2020. With the simple message of “Please, no more bags,” the team (aided by student ambassadors) took to the streets to talk to students on the doorstep about key messages on recycling. Each of the 1514 households visited, 25% of which had visibly contaminated bins, were offered the opportunity to add a sticker to their recycling bin as a reminder.

Students make up an important constituent of the community in Lenton. Yet different treatment methods mean that recycling practices vary across the UK and further afield, so Nottingham’s recycling guidelines may be different to what students are used to at home. This lack of consistency means simple errors can lead to domestic waste being rejected for recycling in Nottingham. In particular, putting recyclable materials into plastic bags, rather than directly into the bin, can lead to an entire wheelie bin being rejected as contaminated and go on to cause further issues for the household who then generate a backlog of waste.

The project has been positively received, with ambassadors having doorstep conversations at 40% of households visited. It is hoped this simple intervention will lead to an increase in the local recycling rate for these households, reducing non-recycled waste and the potential for neighbourhood waste problems.

You can read more about the campaign and find out more about what you can recycle in Nottingham City.

Posted on Wednesday 29th January 2020

Sustainability Team

Estate Office, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD