Recycling and waste

Everything we do has an impact on the planet and society, and the waste we produce can have a signficant effect. By considering how much waste we produce and how we can reduce this waste, we can also reduce our carbon footprint. 

There are many ways you can reduce your waste on and off campus through student-led sustainability projects and recycling in your halls accommodation, off-campus housing or in university and SU buildings. This page provides information about recycling services and shares tips and advice on how to reduce waste and recycle more to promote a circular economy. 

If you live in Halls of Residence, there are recycling facilities in each kitchen.

If you live off campus in rental accommodation, your own house or with parents and commute, kerbside recycling services are provided by your local council.

Recycling facilities are provided in buildings across the university campus.

Halls Recycling Video

Recycling Ambassadors Tom and Lucy explain what you can recycle in Keele's Halls of Residence.

Ashleigh's Recycling Tips

Sustainable Living Project Intern Ashleigh has some tips on how to recycle more and reduce your waste. Click the drop downs for more information!

Choosing reusable items can cut the amount of waste you produce in the first place. Consider reusable or refillable products, from dried goods and shampoo to razors and sanitary products. 

Examples of items to consider switching to reusables include:

  • Reusable water bottles
  • Reusable coffee cups
  • Reusable lunch packs and food containers
  • Portable reusable cutlery
  • Beeswax food wraps or reusable silicone cling film wrap
  • Reusable and washable kitchen cloths and dusters

Some of these items can be repurposed items from your kitchen, such as tupperware containers, and can enable you to join in with schemes like Eat, Rinse, Repeat and Drink, Rinse, Repeat to reduce the amount of single-use disposable packaging being used on campus.

You can also consider reducing the amount of packaging by getting refillable products such as:

  • Shampoos and conditioners
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste - toothpaste tablets are a great alternative!
  • Bamboo toothbrushes or toothbrushes with replaceable heads and reusable handles
  • Surface cleaner
  • Reusable safety razors
  • Bodywash or using bar soap and shampoo bars
  • Laundry liquid refills

There are also refill options for dry food goods such as pasta, rice, oats, herbs, spices and sweets etc, some of which are readily available in our Weigh to Go shop located at Keele SU.

Another way to reduce single-use waste is considering reusable sanitary and hygiene products. Reusable alternatives include:

  • Reusable makeup pads
  • Reusable cloth wipes or using a towelling face cloth
  • Reusable cotton buds
  • Reusable sanitary pads, period cups or period underwear

Many of these items are available at KeeleSU's Weigh to Go Shop, at local plastic free and refill shops, through online stores like Ethical Supermarket, or can be upcycled from old textiles. Try something new today to help cut your single-use plastic and the carbon footprint of your consumption and waste.

Flattening cardboard boxes before putting them in the recycling can reduce the amount of space taken up by your waste. It only takes a couple of seconds but can mean fewer waste collections are needed too, saving carbon emissions from recycling vehicles. Easy items to flatten include delivery boxes and cereal boxes that may take up space and be too bulky.

Remember, pizza boxes or packaging that is contaminated with food waste shouldn't be added to the recycling as it can cause the rest of the recyclables to be rejected. Only clean cardboard can be recycled. Tetrapak and aluminium lined juice boxes are also unable to recycled through the cardboard recycling at present. The local recycling centre at Leycett has a recycling facility; alternatively these should be placed in the general waste.

Setting an example to others can help increase the impact of your recycling efforts. Sometimes people don't recycle because they don't know what can go in the recycling. By encouraging your house mates to recycle, you can also help reduce contamination of your recycling bin and prevent recycling being sent to landfill.

Before placing recyclable cans and glass in the recycle bin, always remember to lightly rinse out any residue from the containers. Food residue can contaminate other recyclables and cause the rest of the recyclable materials to rejected and have to be sent for disposal with general waste. As well as preventing contamination, rinsing also prevents containers becoming mouldy or smelly, something the recycling crews and operators at the recycling plants will appreciate!

Recycling and Waste Projects

Where can I recycle?

Around campus, there are facilities for recycling and redistributing a wide range of items you may no longer need. You can look out for recycling signs in your kitchen, at bin stores near your university accommodation, and in university buildings. Check out the tabs below to find out where you can recycle different resources.

You can recycle large cardboard boxes in skips placed in bin stores, whilst smaller pieces of cardboard can be placed in recycling bins around the campus, or if you live in Halls of Residence, in your kitchen recycling bin.

Glass can be recycled in the specific glass bins at the bin stores by each Hall of Residence.

Keele currently has an opt in food waste recycling service in Halls of Residence. If you would like to request a food waste bin and caddy liners so you can collect food waste from your kitchen, please contact the Sustainability Team. Students opting in to the service agree to empty the food waste bins and keep the caddy clean as part of this programme.

If you live off campus in Newcastle-under-Lyme, the local council has a food waste recycling scheme. If your property does not have a food caddy or food waste bin, you can request one from the council who also provide free liners for your food caddy. Food waste bins are collected weekly with waste taken to an anaerobic digester.

There are charity donation banks for the British Heart Foundation by each Hall of Residence and at the Islamic Centre. Local charity shops will also take donations of clothing for resale.

There are battery recycling points in academic buildings, the campus library and SU shop. Please ensure the ends of each battery are covered with cellotape before adding them to the collection bin.

Keele University Sustainability Map

Our campus sustainability map shows where the external recycling bins and BHF donation banks are located at each Hall of Residence.

Get in touch

If you'd like to know more about recycling and waste at Keele or have an idea for a project to reduce waste on campus, we'd love to hear from you. Email the Sustainability Team or send us a message through Facebook or Twitter and we'll be in touch.