Student designed bin mural installed across campus

Written by: Mitch Laughton, VP Activities

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A new design is being installed onto the SU recycling bins to encourage recycling, created by one of our Marine Biology students, Caitlin Rentell;

"I decided to get involved in the project whilst completing my dissertation on plastic pollution. I thought it was a great chance to have a go at using graphic design and share the importance of recycling. As a Marine Biology student I was inspired by my own love for wildlife as well as Plymouth’s link with the ocean. I hope that the project will be a success and that the addition of the design increases correct recycling practices. I also hope it inspires others to get involved in projects with the University and across Plymouth."

The project was initiated by the 2021-22 VP Activities, Madeleine Morton, who created a competition to receive designs from the student community. The winner was offered a prize, funded by Preventing Plastic Pollution, as this was a project to engage with recycling plastics. The project aims were inspired by Green Nudges, which are ways to encourage sustainable behaviours by making them attractive and easy. We want to use an aesthetic design that ‘nudges’ people into choosing the recycling bins when they can.

A survey was done on the external SU roof bins before the project to enable a before and after evaluation. The external bin survey in April found that contamination in most external recycling bins is too high for them to be recycled, and that 7 out of 8 bags would have been diverted to the energy from waste facility rather than recycling. A second survey on the same bins in May found that over half of the contents by weight of the external recycling bins consisted of non-recyclable material. View the full results on the University waste page.

These results shows the need for us to re-engage with our recycling, and make sure we know what goes where, which is what we hope to achieve with the student design. A helpful A-Z guide of waste has also been setup.

The winning design is:


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