Recycling unpopular with students

Research being carried out by Bournemouth Borough Council suggests that first year students are not as engaged with recycling as older students.

Waste and Recycling Communications Officer Rosie Ryves-Webb has found that there is a “first year student bubble”.

Her study is based on research by SITA UK, a recycling and resource management company, which found that 54.8% of students are committed recyclers compared to 75% of the general UK population.

The Lifting the Lid research project was commissioned by NUS  to understand student attitudes towards recycling.

Ms Ryves-Webb worked in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy, who carried out a study in 2012 called University Challenge.

The study looked at how likely students were to engage with waste and recycling services, and was carried out with four universities, including Bournemouth University.

It was found that the first years saw waste and recycling control as a low priority, but older students were more involved.

SITA found that the number of students that did not recycle at all totalled 8.2%, however it was discovered that nearly half of these students (47.2%) were first years.

The study found that lack of awareness of collection points, not enough storage space and little support from flat mates meant they were less inclined to recycle.

Georgina Fry, Waste and Resource Projects Manager at Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “Students are an important part of the community here in Bournemouth and each year Bournemouth Borough Council works with both AUB and BU students to help them recycle as much as possible.”

Throughout the year, the Waste and Recycling team visit student accommodation and attend university events with the aim of helping to provide them with “the information and support they need to buck the trend locally,” Ms Fry added.

The study showed that the majority of students do want to recycle more, with 7 out of 10 saying that their intentions to recycle are motivated by reducing waste going to landfill.