The contract extension comes after an initial three-year period where ODS worked hand-in-hand with the university to raise recycling rates from just under 58% to the current recycling rate of 71%. Oxford Brookes University has the ambitious goal of recycling 75% of its waste by 2020.
The Oxford Brookes University Environmental Services Team and ODS has implemented a wide range of initiatives to improve recycling rates.
Quick wins through standardisation
Initial quick wins included standardising the colour coding of all 1,100 litre bins and recycling receptacles across the halls of residence to make it easier for staff and students to recognise the correct types of waste to deposit in each bin.
All new halls of residence students are delivered a welcome pack explaining the re-use and recycling programs operating from the halls. The welcome pack is backed up by door knocking, posters and staff training to ensure everyone is aware of the recycling goals and the ever improving recycling options offered by ODS.
Fairs, tours and new initiatives
The ODS recycling education team, working with the University’s Community Engagement Team, also takes information and provides training to students living in shared housing off campus around the City. They also attend the Freshers’ Fair and events throughout the year to promote the recycling efforts and promote new initiatives, such as cup recycling. Educational tours to recycling centres, energy recovery and anaerobic digestion facilities have also been popular activities to raise awareness and help educate staff and students.
The University also runs a variety of ‘end of year’ campaigns to encourage students to reduce waste by taking items home with them at the end of the year or donating any unwanted items. This year ODS provided additional special waste metal containers for students to recycle unwanted goods at the end of year. The university also works in partnership with the British Heart Foundation, who have all year-round donation bins as well as extra bins during the end of year campaign. All dried food is donated to the Oxford Food bank.
This year, ODS will transport almost 900 tonnes of waste for recycling and incineration. All waste is processed for recycling or incineration within the County and transport journeys have been minimised by the provision of waste compactors on the university campus, with the resulting reduction in carbon footprint.
The efforts of the university and ODS have resulted in Oxford Brookes reaching a 71% recycling rate this year, putting it in the top third of further education facilities for recycling, according to official data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
“I have worked with many different waste management companies but it is the added value elements of the services that ODS provides that sets them apart,” said Michele Morley, Environmental Specialist at Oxford Brookes University. “The educational programmes and support they provide, as well as the detailed levels of reporting all help to keep our students and my University stakeholders informed. As a result, we are constantly improving our recycling statistics and are in line to meet our ambitious targets.”
Simon Howick, Managing Director of ODS, said, “The extension of this important commercial recycling and waste management contract is testament to the hard work and expertise of both the ODS team and the Environmental Services Team at Oxford Brookes University. Together they have gone the extra mile to educate and innovate to reduce waste.”
“Moving forward, ODS looks forward to helping the university achieve its 2020 recycling goals and to working together with other commercial organisations in and around Oxford to help reduce their waste and deliver on their sustainability commitments.”