Recycle your way to £15,000!

Posted in: Accommodation, Students, Students' Union

Between 1 October and 30 November, we’re competing against 10 other universities to recycle as much waste as possible, with the chance to win £15,000 towards a University event! The NUS has teamed up with Coca-Cola to run a national recycling competition between universities, challenging students and staff to recycle as much waste as possible throughout the two months.

To help us to win the RecycleLeague, remember to recycle all of these items in the correct bins:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Cans
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Food waste

Plus, recycle oral hygiene products and snack packets using the Terracycle boxes on campus.

Jamie Agombar, Head of Sustainability at NUS, said, “We are pleased to build on our commercial relationship with Coca-Cola through this fun pilot. Recycling is so important, but it has become less of a priority for many students as commingled recycling bins and waste to fuel have become the norm. We are going to change that and make recycling the default on our campuses through friendly competition.”

Gordon McSkimming, Sustainable Packaging Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, said “We have a vision of a world without waste and sustainability has been at the heart of our business for many years.  Our bottles and cans are 100% recyclable and we will be doubling the amount of recycled plastic we use in our bottles by 2020 – so encouraging people to recycle more often will help us to get that material back so that we can make it into new bottles and cans again. Alongside our community programmes it’s great to be working with NUS on RecycleLeague giving campus communities the chance to be rewarded for their recycling efforts.”

Here's a few tips to help us all be at the top of our recycling game:

  • Check out the Leave No Trace page for more information on what to recycle, and where
  • Use the right bin for your rubbish – if you live in University accommodation, find out more about how to recycle in accommodation
  • Opt for a reusable coffee cup instead of a single-use one, to reduce your non-recyclable waste
  • Join The Exchange, our reusable cup scheme in The Pitstop which allows you to swap your reusable cup for a clean one, or an exchangeable cup token
  • Bring your own container when buying takeaway food to save 20p across campus outlets
  • Make the most of our water refill stations by carrying a reusable water bottle
  • Reduce food waste by grabbing a Munch Box; bring your own container to our outlets at certain times, and fill it with leftover food for just £2.75
  • Use the Terracycle boxes on campus to recycle oral care products (like toothbrushes and toothpaste), as well as snack packets (like crisps and nuts)
  • Remember to pick up a Leave No Trace loyalty card, to get £2 off food and drink when you collect nine loyalty stamps
  • Use the charity donation banks across campus to donate any unwanted clothes or belongings

The overall winner of RecycleLeague will win £15,000 to further enhance environmental projects on campus, as well as to throw a sustainable party for students and staff to celebrate their win. There are also prizes up for grabs for the biggest increase in recycling on campus, so every item recycled really counts.

University of Bath will be competing against Bath Spa University, University of Birmingham, Cardiff Metropolitan University, City University of London, King’s College London, Keele University, Nottingham Trent, University of Warwick, University of Winchester and University of Worcester.

Look out for the Protect What Matters Crew on campus, who will be encouraging everyone to get involved throughout the eight-week challenge!

Posted in: Accommodation, Students, Students' Union


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  • Whilst I'm in favour of the principle of recycling (and we don't do nearly enough) the fact that it's there's a *prize* concerns me and sets a dangerous precident that we should be rewarded for this and we can carry on consuming what we do (e.g. bottles of coke) regardless - I'm worried this won't stick unless Universities take a more fundamental principled stance - the fact that this is sponsored by Coca-Cola screams greenwashing since effectively there's little cost to the University or the students to participate. Ultimately we shouldn't be generating the waste in the first place.

    • Hi Sacha,

      Thank you for your comment. We appreciate your concerns over the competition, and we agree that the priority should be to reduce the volume of waste produced. As a department, sustainability and protecting the environment are very important to us, and we are consistently working on new initiatives to reduce our environmental impact.

      This competition is an opportunity for us, as a university, to encourage a sustained effort to increase recycling across the campus, and raise awareness of the importance of considering our daily consumables and how they are disposed of. Through this competition we aim to increase the volume of waste we recycle, without increasing the amount of waste per head.

      We encourage all our students, members of staff and guests to take part in Leave No Trace, a recycling and waste management initiative aiming to minimise the rubbish we send to landfill and reduce our carbon footprint. More details on Leave No Trace can be found here:

      Thank you again for your feedback - we remain committed to protecting the environment, and will continue to listen and respond to your feedback.

  • Hi - obviously recycling is important but surely avoiding using single use plastic is better. All the cafes on campus must get through dozens of plastic milk containers every week while companies like Bruton Dairies will deliver in stainless steel reusable containers. Surely something the University should be supporting

    • Hi Janet, thank you for your comment, and your suggestion.

      We agree that reducing our consumption of single-use plastic is a priority, and is something which we are consistently working on. In our outlets, we use pergals for large volumes of milk to reduce our consumption of plastic milk bottles; stainless steel containers are a great option, but at present they unfortunately do not deliver in volumes large enough to fill our needs here on campus. We use local suppliers wherever possible to reduce food miles, as well as encouraging the reduction of single-use items in our outlets via the Leave No Trace and Exchange reusable cup schemes. You can find out more here:

  • For ages there have not been sufficient numbers or ranges of recycling bins around the campus. I see, at last, that a paper recycling bin has been added to level 2 of 8 West and hope that this trend will be implemented elsewhere. There does not currently seem to be anywhere on the Parade to leave glass containers.

    • Hi Grizelda, thank you for your comment. We are working to make recycling as easy and convenient as possible on campus - you can find a glass recycling bin on the Parade at the top of the steps opposite the SU. You can find out more about recycling on campus here: