The Reporter
ssue 492, 29 September 2003
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Not just a load of old rubbish


Janet Willis, Kevin Banks and Keith Pitcher during a waste audit

What a waste – (l-r) Janet Willis, cleansing supervisor Kevin Banks and Keith Pitcher find piles of recyclable paper in the six tons of rubbish thrown out from the University on just one day during the summer vacation

The bin beneath your desk coult be a thing of the past, if a pilot recycling scheme starting this month proves successful. Estate services, the institute of transport studies, and the schools of environment, geography and combined honours in languages are taking part in the scheme, which aims to encourage staff to recycle most of their waste.

Special bins will be provided to dispose of clear plastic cups & drinks bottles, glass, drinks cans, paper and other rubbish at central points on each floor. Individual bins in offices will be taken away after a few months, giving time to phase in the new scheme. So staff are asked to go to their nearest recycling point to get rid of any rubbish. As instigators of the scheme, Estate Services are being tough on themselves, and removing individual bins from day one.

Environment officer Dr Keith Pitcher said: "The University creates 1,200 tons of waste every year, which costs us money, both in paying contractors to take it away and in landfill tax. We could save money easily by recycling more and, at the same time, improve our environmental performance. For example, we buy 800 tons of paper every year, but only recycle 200 tons. Our waste audits show that far too much paper is still going into ordinary rubbish. It may take a bit of time, but we need to change our culture a little, and think before we just throw things in the bin."

Many electronic items no longer needed at the University, such as computers and mobile phones, are already recycled or given away to charities for reuse.

Cleaning Services Manager Janet Willis said: "If we know in advance when larger items are going to be thrown out, we can try and find homes for them.I'm happy for people to contact me directly at any time, to let me know when they're planning a clear out, or if they want more paper recycling bins."



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