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The University of Southampton

Reducing waste and boosting recycling

Thousands of students, staff and visitors use our campuses every day, so it’s a priority that we reduce the amount of waste we produce and recycle as much as possible.

We use a simple two-bin recycling system in almost all of our office, catering and teaching spaces. You’ll find there’s one bin or caddy for food, and one for virtually all other clean waste.

What you can do

It’s essential that only clean and dry waste is put in the mixed recycling bins. Please give food packaging a rinse before recycling.

If our waste is contaminated by food and liquid, the whole batch is rejected and diverted for incineration.

Another simple way to help is to consider how you are buying food and drinks on our campuses. Can you bring your own container, water bottle or reusable coffee cup?

Where does our waste end up?

The mixed waste is sorted at a materials recycling facility. Anything that can’t be recycled - like crisp packets - is sent to an ‘energy from waste’ facility so that electricity and heat can be recovered.

Our food waste is sent for anaerobic digestion, which breaks down biodegradable materials using microorganisms, producing gases that can be used to generate electricity and heat. The leftover materials can be used as a soil conditioner and fertiliser.

Specialist materials

We have facilities across our campuses for recycling glass and specialist materials such as batteries, furniture and electrical equipment.

Find out more on our Waste A-Z page and contact the team if you have any questions.

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