University of Worcester wins national university recycling challenge

The University of Worcester has won a national university recycling challenge.

Worcester, which was named Sustainability Institution of the Year at last year’s Green Gown Awards, came top out of 10 universities taking part in the RecycleLeague competition, which involved more than 39,000 students.

The two-month long contest was run by SOS UK, on behalf of the National Union of Students, and funded by Coca-Cola. Each university was given £1,800 in funding to improve recycling rates.

Overall, universities involved saved 922 tonnes of recycling from going to landfill during the challenge, 70 tonnes more than the same period last year. The University of Worcester increased its recycling rates by 28 per cent, winning the £15,000 prize to invest in further sustainability initiatives.

The University of Worcester’s activities focused on its St John’s campus halls of residence. Second year Creative Media students devised a #binitright campaign, with posters and leaflets around campus alongside social media and an informative video to promote recycling and clarify what could be recycled.

There was also a game that polled students on fun questions, encouraging them to vote by filling the recycling bin that corresponded to their answer and a ‘graffiti a bin’ competition. Students visited flats around the campus and talked to the occupants about recycling, rewarding them for good practice and ensuring they had an accurate poster explaining what materials went in which bin.

Katy Boom, Director of Sustainability at University of Worcester, said: “Students and staff were really committed to boosting recycling efforts and are passionate about continuing the legacy of the competition moving forward. The activities the students undertook, particularly giving more information, proved really effective. With the prize money from Coca-Cola, we’re planning to run workshops with local community groups in Worcester, and work with a local social landlord and the city council to run a similar competition for local people.”

The university has built up an enviable record of sustainability and, last year, was awarded First Class Honours – for the 11th consecutive year – in the People and Planet University League, which measures sustainability performance at higher education institutions.

Ross Renton, Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Worcester, said: “We’re thrilled that the efforts our students and staff are making towards a more sustainable society have been recognised in this way. This builds further on the university’s growing reputation for sustainability, which has seen us consistently among the top most sustainable universities in the People and Planet University League for over a decade, and the winner of the 2019 Green Gown Awards’ Sustainability Institution of the Year.”