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Sustainability and York St John

Waste management

We make sure that our waste is recycled, reused or responsibly disposed of.

Rubbish organised for recycling

Sustainability doesn't stop at energy efficiency.

Making sure that the waste we generate is reused, recycled or responsibly disposed of is essential to our plans.

What we've achieved

Zero waste to landfill

Since 2016, all waste produced by York St John has been diverted from landfill. The waste is separated into recyclables, which are reused as a commodity, and general waste which is processed to create refuse-derived fuel. Our food waste is converted into electricity and low-carbon fertilisers are made as a by-product, which are sold to local businesses. Green waste from all our sites is recycled by our Grounds team or sent externally to create compost. We also have separate collection bins for batteries located in the lobby of the Porters Lodge at St Anthony's House.

Ongoing measures

The waste hierarchy

Our first aim is to reduce waste, and reuse, repair, and repurpose items before they are sent for recycling. Wherever possible we reuse and reallocate furniture on the estate, including at accommodation sites. We prefer to relocate, repair or reupholster an item, rather than immediately procure new goods.

  • IT waste: Repc Ltd is a social enterprise that specialises providing affordable repurposed technology to communities across the UK.
  • Furniture: Over2Hills collects our unused furniture to upcycle, donate to charity, or break down into component parts for recycling.
  • Clothing, books, toys: British Heart Foundation – donation banks in York.

You can utilise the waste hierarchy off campus and in your daily life by following some tips in the document below:

Lets Talk Less Rubbish (PDF, 2.5 MB)

British Heart Foundation (BHF) Pack for Good

BHF clothing banks are located on our Lord Mayor’s Walk campus and at residential sites so that students and staff can donate their unwanted goods. The annual BHF 'Pack for Good' campaign during student moving out periods supports our efforts to reduce waste and gives gently used clothing and household goods a new life. 

During move-out periods, donation bags are delivered to accommodation sites to encourage students to donate their unwanted items before they leave their accommodation at the end of the academic year.

Food waste

Our food waste is used to generate biogas for energy and climate-friendly, low carbon fertiliser. Orange food waste caddies can be found in campus kitchens, Holgate canteen and in student accommodation. Only food, tea bags and coffee grounds can go into food waste and not packaging of any sort.

Battery recycling

Batteries are also separated for recycling in bins in the Porter's Lodge in St Anthony’s House.

Where does our waste and recycling go?

  • General waste and dry mixed recycling – Forge Recycling (a subsidiary of Biffa) divert our general waste from landfill. Recycling is segregated and reused as a commodity, and general waste is processed to create refuse-derived fuel.
  • Food waste – Forge Recycling sends all food waste from campus and student accommodation to Maltings, a facility in Yorkshire that uses anaerobic digestion and turns it into renewable energy.

Information for students and staff

Types of bins on campus and in student accommodation

  • General waste: Wet and/or dirty rubbish such as soiled food cartons, crisp and sweet packets or wrappers, used paper towels and tissues, and paper drinks cups.
  • Dry mixed recycling: Clean and empty aluminium cans, plastic drinks bottles, and clean and dry paper or card.
  • Food waste: Raw or cooked food leftovers, fruit and vegetable peelings, meat and dairy, tea bags and coffee grounds. No food or drink packaging please.
  • Glass: Glass bottles and jars. No broken glass please. This should be wrapped in paper and put in a General Waste bin.

Information for students living in private rented accommodation

If you are living in accommodation that is not university-managed, your waste and recycling requirements may be different. Consult your council’s website to find out what you can recycle and what goes in the general waste bin.

City of York Council - Waste and Recycling

City of York Council - Students end of term clear out

City of York Council - Waste guidelines for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

City of York Council - Recycle and reuse A to Z

St Nicks - Waste and Sustainability