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Waste and recycling

Recycling on campus
Our waste and recycling team on Penryn Campus work hard to reduce our waste and increase our recycling. In 2023 we recycled over 10,000 tetra paks on campus and now 1,000 tetra paks are recycled a month on average. In the 2022/23 academic year we reduced general waste generated on Penryn Campus by 7% and increased all recycling by over 5% compared with 2021/22.

Food recycling
Our main campus catering outlets at Falmouth and Penryn already have food waste collection in place and a project to recycle food waste in Penryn student residences has been so successful it’s being rolled out further. Working with Cornwall Waste Solutions we encourage students on campus to separate food waste, which is sent to an anaerobic digestion plant where it can be turned into electricity, fuel and fertiliser.

Since the addition of the new food waste bins a tonne more food waste has been sent to the anaerobic digestion facilities than the same period the year before. There are now plans to add new food bins to more locations.

In the 2022/23 academic year food waste recycling increased by 38% compared to the previous year.

Pack for Good campaign
Each year we support the British Heart Foundation’s pack for good campaign which encourages students moving out of residences to donate unwanted items like books, clothes or household goods so they can be diverted from landfill. Unopened, non-perishable food is also collected and donated to our local food bank. In 2022, 691 bags were collected the equivalent of 32,462 kg of CO2.

Penryn Campus Swap Shop
At other times of the year a swap shop runs on campus where students and staff can drop off any re-usable items they no longer need. The Swap Shop will accept almost anything, from kitchenware and clothes to decorations, textbooks and more. The aim is to reduce waste, by helping students choose second-hand and save money, thus supporting keeping things circular and sustainable.

Ban the bin
To reduce plastic waste, bins are no longer available in offices on campus. Staff are encouraged to use local recycling points rather than desk bins to preventing thousands of plastic bin liners going to refuse each year and increase waste going to recycling.

During the Covid-19 pandemic the use of reusable face coverings was encouraged but recycling bins were also put in place for users to deposit used single-use face masks.

Community furniture donations
The working styles of many people at Penryn campus changed during the Covid-19 pandemic and furniture was taken out of rooms to allow for more space and social distancing. Rather than throw away unwanted but good quality furniture, new homes were found for it with local community organisations and schools.