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Recycling and waste

At Brunel we constantly review the waste we generate in an effort to continuously improve our recycling capabilities and reduce our negative impact on the environment. 

In the 2019/20 academic year, Brunel achieved a recycling percentage of 47% when compared against general waste. To accommodate the University’s ethos of continuous improvement, new objectives and targets have been set within BUL's Waste Management Plan 2022-25 (.pdf download). The plan also presents our achievement over the last 5 years and many recycling initiatives already in place; some example initiatives are presented below.

Halls waste

Recognising that a majority of the University’s municipal waste is generated in our Halls of Residence and that this is where a majority of the contaminations occur, we have introduced a team of operatives that collect, analyse and segregate each halls kitchen waste. The benefits of this are:

  • quality: by identifying contaminations before they are mixed with a larger load, we are able to safeguard a large portion of recycling and therefore recycle more
  • financial: allows us to identify contaminated waste streams early, before they reach the waste service provider, enabling us to avoid contamination charges
  • engagement: students are able to speak with the Halls Waste Team directly to gain feedback on their recycling and waste segregating performance

Disposable coffee cup recycling points

Disposable coffee cup recycling points have been deployed in academic, administrative and catering areas to encourage people to recycle their cups rather than placing them in the wrong waste stream. The cups captured through this stream are recycled into various products, such as benches and reusable cups, therefore allow us to contribute towards a Circular Economy.

Mattress, duvet and pillow recycling 

Each year hundreds of used mattresses, duvets and pillows require disposal. Through partnership with the local council we have managed to recycle 100% of mattresses and over 60% of duvets and pillows. The mattresses are stripped down to raw materials and sent on to be recycled. The duvets and pillows are sent to local dog homes and homeless shelters to be reused. The remaining 40% of duvets and pillows are sent to an Energy from Waste plant to be incinerated to produce energy. 

British Heart Foundation

British Heart Foundation have positioned 13 clothing banks across campus which allow people to deposit their unwanted cloths so that they can be reused or recycled.

Battery recycling points 

Battery recycling points have been introduced across campus which allow anyone who visits the University to deposit their spent batteries, either from work or at home, to divert them from the general waste stream into the WEEE stream where they belong. We send around 40 tonnes of used batteries to be recycled each year.

Food waste collections 

Food waste is one of the heaviest forms of waste that can be found in a general waste bin. Extracting this valuable organic waste from the general waste stream reduces the overall weight of the general waste stream, which saves money and allows us to recover the potential of the material through anaerobic/aerobic digestion. Food waste is collected from the following locations on campus:

  • staff kitchens
  • residential kitchens
  • catering outlets

On average we are sending 41 tonnes of food waste to an anaerobic digester each year.

Green Tips

Don’t throw away your unwanted stuff – use Freecycle. You can reduce waste by offering your unwanted items free and it’s also a good opportunity to pick up others’ unwanted items for free. Type 'Hillingdon' or the name of your local town.