At BGU there are a number of steps we have taken to incorporate responsible consumption and to encourage recycling.

  • Our Waste & Recycling FAQs (see below) provide information on what can be recycled where, and how university waste is disposed of.
  • Takeaway cartons, cutlery, straws and stirrers in our food outlets are made of sustainable and/or biodegradable materials.
  • We have organised trips for students and staff to Lincolnshire’s Energy From Waste plant in Lincoln, to see for themselves how the county’s waste is processed and re-purposed.
  • Paper supplies used by our Reprographics team are sustainably-sourced.
  • Empty toner and ink cartridges are returned to our suppliers to be re-filled.
  • Stationery items and equipment like envelopes, lever arch files, box files, binding combs, monitor risers, footrests, and letter trays are routinely re-used across the University.
  • University ICT supply chains are covered by Electronics Watch via membership of the North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium (NEUPC)

Waste & Recycling at BGU - FAQs

All items listed below can be recycled, provided they are clean and dry:

· PLASTIC: bottles, cartons, tubs & pots (but not black plastic) can go in the recycling bins around campus.

· METAL: tins, drink cans, foil trays & tin foil can go in the recycling bins around campus.

· PAPER: paper, card, brochures, paperback books can go in the recycling bins around campus.

· CARDBOARD: can go in the large cardboard bins located between Curiositea and CELT.

· GLASS: can go in any of the special glass bins just inside the main campus entrance (one brown dome + two red bins).

· USED BATTERIES: can go in the battery bins located in CELT and the Hardy Building.

There is also a special charity recycling point located in the Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) where the following items can be deposited: plastic lids & bottle tops; used postage stamps; empty blister packs; empty crisp packets; used birthday cards; and empty domestic printer ink cartridges

Items commonly left in university recycling bins but which cannot be recycled by Biffa include black plastic, disposable vapes, Tetrapack cartons (e.g., for milks & juices), disposable coffee cups (see FAQ 3), polystyrene, and soft/flexible plastics (see FAQ 4).

Generally speaking, if an item isn’t listed under FAQ 1 put it in a general waste bin. This avoids the potential for contamination (see FAQ 9).

No, unfortunately not. Disposable coffee cups from campus outlets are not recyclable. Please empty these before disposing of them in a general waste bin or, even better, bring in your own re-usable, lidded drinks container.

No, unfortunately not. Soft plastics are things like sweet wrappers, plastic film, cereal liners, bread bags, toilet roll wrapping, bubble wrap and food pouches. The nearest collection points to campus are the Co-op on Burton Road, Waitrose on Searby Road, Aldi on Nettleham Road, and Tesco Extra on Wragby Road.

Academic books in good condition can be taken to the Library from where they will be added to stock, passed to a local bookseller, or added to the Swap Shop. Fiction, children’s books, celebrity biographies, magazines, dictionaries and encyclopedia are not accepted. The Library also runs a scheme allowing those about to graduate the chance to donate textbooks to other BGU students; look out for announcements about this in late spring / early summer.

There are bookshelves in the Refectory that may be suitable for fiction or biographies, and the Ermine Library runs its own book swap scheme. Alternatively, you can donate books to charity shops or try to sell them yourself online.

Magazines and paperback books not suitable for donation (i.e., in poor condition) can be placed in campus recycling bins. Hardback books not suitable for donation must be placed in general waste.

Black bin bags are for general waste and clear bin bags are for recyclable waste. Clear bin bags go in the Biffa bins for recyclable waste, and black bin bags in the Biffa bins for general waste.

There are numerous bins outside on campus which should be clearly labelled for recycling or general waste.

Every teaching space and communal area should have a recycling bin and a general waste bin.

Student kitchens in the Halls of Residence have three bins: one for general waste, one for recyclable waste and one for glass. Students are responsible for emptying these and for taking the waste to the relevant Biffa bins.

Most resident students have a single general waste bin in their rooms. Students are responsible for emptying these and any other bins located in residential shared spaces.

Bins for general waste should be found close to every staff office. Staff are responsible for separating out non-recyclable waste and taking it to their nearest general waste bin.

BG Green is currently looking at ways to increase the proportion of campus waste that gets recycled. This may include changes to the positioning and labelling of the bins on campus, so keep an eye out for updates!

Housekeeping staff cannot take away heavy bags or large amounts of waste. Instead, please submit an Estates Helpdesk ticket to request that the items be collected. This applies to both staff and students.

Contaminated waste is waste that is intended for recycling but gets spoiled by being mixed with general waste. It matters because it reduces the proportion of campus waste that is suitable for recycling.

For example, a half-eaten sandwich or a part-filled coffee cup put in a classroom recycling bin will contaminate everything in the bin, meaning the Housekeeping team have to transfer the entire contents into a black bin bag and treat it as general waste.

Similarly, but on a larger scale, a single black bin bag placed into one of the large Biffa bins for recyclable waste will contaminate everything in the bin (regardless of what the black bag actually contains), meaning Biffa have to transfer the entire contents of the bin into their general waste lorry. If you see a Biffa lorry that appears to be emptying both bins (recycling and general waste) into the same general waste lorry this will be why.

Contaminated waste can easily be avoided by taking care to put the right thing in the right bin.

Biffa visit the campus twice a week to collect general waste, recycling and cardboard waste.

General waste is taken to an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant – usually Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire - to be incinerated and converted into energy.

Recyclable waste is taken to a material recovery facility at Caythorpe near Grantham to be sorted and processed.

Paper placed into the University’s secure shredding bins is collected by a company called Shred-it who thoroughly shred the paper and then recycle it.

About a quarter of the waste collected by Biffa is recycled and three quarters is incinerated. Less than 2% is ‘residual’ waste (what remains after recyclable waste has been processed and separated) and goes to landfill.

The most important things you can do are to:

a) Educate yourself about what can and can’t be recycled on campus

b) Put the right things in the right bins, being careful to avoid contamination (see FAQ 9)

c) Spread the word and encourage your classmates, housemates and colleagues to do the same.

Biffa charge the University less to take away recyclable waste than general waste, so the more we successfully recycle the more money the University can spend on other things!

Electrical waste, including items that fail PAT tests, must be responsibly disposed of according to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling regulations. Electrical waste is collected by Biffa.

If you have an electrical item to dispose of, please submit an Estates Helpdesk ticket asking for it to be collected.

Small electrical items (25cm or less on the longest edge) can be taken to Waitrose, even if you didn’t buy the item from there. Find out more here.

Small electrical items, batteries and lightbulbs can also be taken to B&Q. Find out more here

The University regularly disposes of things like scrap metal, light bulbs/fittings, and garden waste from the grounds, all of which is collected by specialist companies to be recycled or composted.

Yes. There are various bins in CELT specifically for charity recycling (see items listed under FAQ 1). Notices on the bins describe which charities benefit from which items. We are always looking for new charity recycling ideas, so please contact BG Green if you have any.

Clothing in good condition can be taken to the Library for donation to the university Swap Shop. The Swap Shop is in The Snug (next to the Chapel) and is open on weekdays. Everything is free and you don’t have to donate something to take something. The nearest charity clothes bank is at Tesco Extra on Wragby Road. You can also take unwanted clothes to H&M.

The Refectory, Curiositea and SU Bar generate surprisingly little food waste. They achieve this by batch cooking, cooking to order, carefully managing stock rotation on perishable items, and closely estimating the number of portions of food needed each day. Any food waste generated by the Refectory is taken to one of Biffa’s anaerobic digestion facilities to be converted into biogas and bio-fertiliser. Leftover food from the Refectory is reduced in price and any unsold sandwiches are usually donated to BGSU’s Community Larder at the end of each week.

Not at the moment, but this is something we would like to do in the future.

You can take cosmetics packaging (compacts, lipsticks, mascara tubes, plastic tubes, etc.) to Tesco Extra on Wragby Road. Boots also run a recycling scheme for cosmetics & toiletries packaging but you must register online in advance. Boots also have an ‘Acuvue’ bin for all makes of soft, disposable contact lenses and their blister packaging (plus the foil)

Contact lenses, their packaging (but not the foil), and old pairs of spectacles can be taken to Specsavers.

If you have queries, questions or suggestions about sustainability at BGU email More about the work of BG Green is available here.

The University’s Swap Shop is a BG Green initiative designed to reduce waste and encourage re-use. Launched in January 2023, it's near the Chapel in the Snug Annexe and is open whenever the Skinner Building is open. Members of the BGU community donate to the Swap Shop and take from the Swap Shop for free, and there's no need to donate in order to take. Items on offer include clothes, shoes, useful household items (especially kitchen stuff), puzzles and games. Donate items by handing them to a member of staff in the Library where they will be sorted and assessed. Please ensure donations are clean and objectively useful (no bric-a-brac please). We are unable to accept electrical items.