Waste and recycling

Photo of bins at BCU, for general waste, plastic bottle, cans/tins and food waste

At Birmingham City University we want to reduce overall waste production, increase reuse and improve recycling rates.

Our Environmental Plan contains the following objectives related to waste and recycling:

  • To reduce the amount of waste generated year-on-year by 1% by 2025 from a 2019-20 baseline.
  • To increase recycling rates annually by 2% per year by 2025 from a 2019-20 baseline.

To help achieve these objectives we are carrying out various actions, including:

  • Running our first ever Waste Awareness Week (21-25 March 2022)
  • Establishing a Waste and Resources Task Group
  • Improving bin signage
  • Working with our caterers to reduce waste at the source
  • Rolling out more food waste caddies
  • Considering the circular economy and life cycle thinking in waste management and purchasing
  • Regular communications with waste contractors
  • Working with our suppliers to minimise the amount of waste on campus
  • Raising awareness of what happens to our waste, including food waste collected at BCU

Find out how you can minimise your waste and help to achieve our objectives by following the waste hierarchy:

Reduce and reuse

Recycling is great but not as good as preventing waste in the first instance! There is still energy involved in recycling our waste. Here’s a few simple ways you can make a difference:

  • Avoid a 15p charge on hot drinks at BCU catering outlets by using your own cup.
  • Take a reusable bottle with you and fill up water on the go.
  • Use the eco-to-go reusable boxes and soup pots on sale at catering outlets.
  • Think before you print and if you need to print, print double sided and two pages or more on one sheet.
  • Only buy what you need and if you need to buy something, consider the quantity, durability and materials (recycled and recyclable).
  • We also work with the British Heart Foundation who take donations of unwanted clothing, bedding and kitchen-wear from our halls of residence (University Locks) during term-time. Contact your local accommodation reception team for more information.


A-Z waste & recycling

Recycling myth buster

  • We currently recycle about 30% of our waste. You can help us to increase this!
  • Recycling systems vary in different areas so make sure you recycle right on campus, as contaminated bins cannot be recycled.
  • The main bins across campus include the following:
    • General waste - including coffee cups and plastic other than bottles
    • Plastic bottles - no other plastics
    • Cans and tins - no other metals
    • Food waste - no packaging
    • Confidential paper bin - non-confidential paper waste should also go in here, but no paper towels or tissues
    • Batteries
  • Our A-Z Waste and Recycling Guide and this iCity article show how other items can be recycled or safely disposed of, such as waste electrical items.
  • Disposable cups, containers and utensils cannot be recycled on campus.