Recycling & Waste Management
The original impetus for the establishment of a Green Campus Programme in UCC was the lack of adequate facilities for recycling, and the management of waste on campus continues to be a central theme in the University’s endeavours to be more sustainable. 2017 saw a surge in concern globally around the amount of plastic entering our seas, following the airing of the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 series. The previous year, a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation warned that by 2050 there may be more plastic than fish in our oceans.
Over the summer of 2017, UCC’s cleaning services provider ISS undertook an audit of the bins in the Boole Library building. The audit revealed that over 160 small bins were placed around the library and that the rate of contamination of recyclables in these bins was extremely high. This contamination was principally a result of the disposal of unfinished single-use coffee cups. A new “binless” system was introduced with all small bins removed from all floors and offices, and two recycling stations established on the ground floor. Coinciding with this, the Library completely banned the use of disposable coffee cups in the building, while a 10cent incentive for reusables was secured from KSG. What started as a difficult and brave move on the part of one building in UCC has now become a movement across the whole campus.
In the past year, the Department for Communication, Climate Action, and Environment issued a new “Recycling List” for Ireland, which provides clear guidance on what plastics can and cannot be recycled. According to the list, “soft” plastic should not be placed in the recycling bin. This further highlights the need to reduce the amount of this waste at source, and UCC is attempting to do this through the innovative KSG “Bio Green” single-use plastic free café.
For information on recycling and waste reduction activities in UCC, see the links below.