Latest NewsNewsPSSA Membership General AccessResourcesSustainable Waste/Recycling

What is the Higher Education Recycling Project (HERP)?

Students in West Sussex are getting extra lessons in recycling thanks to a new initiative from the West Sussex Waste Partnership.

The partnership – which comprises West Sussex County Council and all of the district and borough councils – is aiming to improve recycling rates for students aged 15-24. 

The main idea behind this Project is to allow the waste partnership to engage with young people and share knowledge on how to recycle right, the benefits of recycling, and waste prevention. Since a change in waste handling contracts for key higher education establishments across the county means recycling on campus is the same as West Sussex residential properties, messaging can reinforce recycling behaviours on campus, which will in turn influence at-home recycling practices.

Engaging with local higher education establishments allows project officers to directly engage with staff and students face-to-face on campus as well as through establishment-run communication channels. This project also gives the council a unique opportunity to have meaningful conversations with young people about waste, helping to shape future recycling and waste communication campaigns. 

Higher/Further Education Establishments Involved With the HERP 

The project first launched in March 2022 for an 18 month period, across the Chichester College Group (CCG), made up of 5 sites:

  • Brinsbury College
  • Chichester College
  • Crawley College
  • Haywards Heath College
  • Worthing College

Since the initiation of the project, the CCG has merged with the Northbrook and Brighton College Group, as this merger is still in a transition period they have been excluded from the scope of the project. The original 5 colleges have a population of over 20,000 students and 2,000 staff.

And Chichester University, made up of 2 campuses:

  • Bishops Otter Campus
  • Bognor Regis Campus

Both campuses provide a range of both on and off-site student accommodation. The university has a population of over 5,500 students and 600 staff. Providing engagement to university students on recycling is especially important as students have travelled from other places in the UK and internationally. Students may be used to different recycling schemes and may not be knowledgeable on what can and cannot be recycled in West Sussex. 

Key Achievements of the HERP so Far? 

So far, the West Sussex Waste Partnership has worked with establishments too:

  • Develop strong relationships between establishment faculties and the West Sussex Waste Partnership
  • Reach over 3600 staff and students through a variety of face-to-face events, social media, E-newsletters, and posters
  • Introduce separate food waste collections for all canteen areas, university coffee shops and Catering schools 
  • Have CCG takeaway food containers swapped from compostable to recyclable – Eco Club scheme (run through Aramark) put in place to encourage the use of reusable containers by students/staff 
  • Install informative and correct signage across all sites 
  • Promote the new Chichester District Council app to Chichester University and Chichester College students offering them recycling information and the opportunity to receive bin notifications on their phones
  • Installed free battery collections available to staff and students across all sites
  • Trialled small WEEE (disposable vapes) bins across 2 sites – Chichester University and Chichester College
  • Made textile collections available to staff and students on key dates throughout the academic year
  • Set up free coffee pod collections at Chichester University and Chichester College – through CDCs Podback scheme 
  • Removed classroom bins across the CCG and replaced them with dual recycling and waste bins in all corridors
  • Waste composition samples saw a decrease of recyclable materials found in the residual waste across all sites bar Chichester Universities main campus (Crawley College saw a 11.3% decrease; Chichester Universities Bognor Campus saw a 7.2% decrease and Chichester College saw a 1.7% decrease. Chichester University saw a 4% increase due to barriers between sub teams and the Student Union as well as publicly accessible bin compounds which saw an increase in fly tipping around the time the sample was collected)
  • Surveys completed as part of the HERP saw a 20% increase in students and staff who said they now take steps to reduce their waste.
  • The HERP saw a 3.3% decrease in contamination across the university sites as well as a 10% decrease across the CCG with no contaminated collections reported in the last 3 months
  • Due to the success of the first phase of the HERP the West Sussex Waste Partnership took the decision to extend the project to focus primarily on food waste reduction and recycling. The first phase of the HERP was also short listed for the LARAC Best Waste Minimisation Award.

For more information on the Higher Education Recycling Project please contact 

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button