UCL PALS Green Team members Sabine Topf and Paul Troop are looking at ways of reducing the quantity of waste produced by UCL and increasing the proportion that is recycled.
To find out more about how waste is treated by UCL, Sabine and Paul conducted a research trip to the plant where UCL's waste is disposed of. They were given a tour of the plant and gained insight into the processes involved.
UCL waste that is not recycled or treated as food waste is sent by train to a plant in Bristol. There it is incinerated. Heat from the process is used to heat steam, which is fed through turbines to generate electricity. Ash that remains is used to make building blocks. None of the waste goes to landfill.
While this disposal process is something of an improvement on landfill, there is considerable scope to reduce the quantity of material sent to be treated in this way, and increase the proportion that is recycled.
With the cooperation of UCL's Facilities Department and Sodexo, Sabine and Paul are looking to use psychological theory and empirical research to have a positive impact on reducing quantities of waste created and improving recycling rates.